Confronting Mental Health #66

deepnews logo

Deepnews Digest #66

Confronting Mental Health

Editor: Christopher Brennan
Mental Health Awareness Month is now coming to a close, though the issues that many of us face will continue into June and, as some of the articles this week mention, beyond whenever the pandemic ends. This Digest expands on last week’s edition by looking at mental health as well as psychology more broadly, with pieces that touch on addiction or vaccine hesitancy. Gathered using the Deepnews Scoring Model, they provide a snapshot from spots all over the globe about where we are mentally right now.


Editor’s Note: We know that mental health can be a difficult subject to talk about, and that talking about it affects many people differently. The articles below deal with issues such as suicide and self-harm, which may be traumatizing for some. If you want to talk to someone, there are people who will listen available around the world. We also encourage feedback on this Digest through our Contact page.
Story Source
Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — While adjusting to the unfamiliar pressures of a new school, a new city, and new anxieties, Polly Moser developed anorexia as a freshman at Stanford University in 2018.

Editor’s Note: In recent years mental health struggles on university campuses have led colleges to offer increased help to their students. However, the disruption of coronavirus has thrown the system questions about telehealth, out-of-state students and more. Erica Evans digs into the issue with an in-depth piece from Salt Lake City. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

New York Times
Dale Mackey closed her event space in Knoxville, Tennessee, a week before the state issued its orders to end large gatherings. She did not think about the economic ramifications of shuttering her business, the Central Collective; she said it was the right thing to do to reduce the spread of the virus.

Editor’s Note:

Straits Times
Teenager Amanda Khoo begs her mother to take her outdoors, but refuses to wear a mask when she steps out despite her family’s best efforts.

Editor’s Note:

Vox
The wedding Hayden Dawes and his husband, Nick, envisioned was very different from the wedding they had. Members of a local Quaker community, the couple had planned a 100-person April ceremony that honored “what’s present and alive.” They’d pictured a reception full of hugs, singing, and dancing.

Editor’s Note:

Irish Independent
The clocks have all been stopped, the stars put out; it feels as though everyone is grieving right now. Liadan Hynes looks at what it means to suffer loss in a time of national crisis, and finds that those who began this unprecedented period already in mourning, have wisdom to share.

Editor’s Note:

Kings College London
Led by King’s College London in collaboration with the University of Zimbabwe and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and published in The Lancet’s EClinicalMedicine journal, the research examined a group of people with depression in Zimbabwe and found that people are nearly three times more likely to suffer this illness long-term if they also have a high level of anxiety.

Editor’s Note:

The Guardian
The potential mental health and suicide impacts resulting from the massive economic and social dislocation caused by Covid-19 are front and centre internationally. In Australia the prime minister, Scott Morrison, has repeated his personal commitment to minimising these effects, and particularly to preventing youth suicide. In reality, however, his government has been awaiting the final report of the Productivity Commission before considering any serious reform to our highly dysfunctional mental health system.

Editor’s Note:

Washington Post
For the first 48 hours, back in March, Gary Politzer could barely move off his couch. A feeling he could not quite understand paralyzed him, even if he knew the reason behind it was frivolous: He couldn’t watch sports anymore.

Editor’s Note:

Harvard Crimson
As the future becomes less certain, our sleep is becoming increasingly animated by quarantine-related dreamscapes.

Editor’s Note:

Press Trust of India
New Delhi: Binge-watching till dawn, playing endless online games, video chats until the sun rises or simply staring into darkness while everyone around is in deep slumber wakeful nights are no longer about once in a while but too often for comfort.

Editor’s Note:

CNN
Nelson is acutely attuned to the way drastic, unexpected change that came with Covid-19 is affecting her residents’ mental health. While families across the country are experiencing intense pain from losing loved ones to the virus, she believes people who are lucky enough to avoid that are still grieving in a different way — for society and life before the pandemic. “We’ve had a death to life as we know it, and now we have to pivot and be resilient. We have to recognize the emotional and the mental health effect that that has on us,” she said.

Editor’s Note:

Boston Globe
It began as paranoia, a feeling that she was being watched and monitored by an entity that seemed similar to the military of her childhood in Taiwan after the war. But as she stopped eating and sleeping, she started calling 911 in the middle of the night to report cries for help that no one else could hear. Most days she believed that school was canceled and rarely left her bedroom, as my sisters, then 10 and 16 years-old, cooked their own meals and woke each other up to catch the bus.

Editor’s Note: Despite the articles on this list tackling the issue, mental health still faces a stigma in many communities. Here Boston city councillor Michelle Wu writes for her local paper about the story of her mother in hopes of encouraging awareness. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

The Conversation
The coronavirus has resulted in stress, anxiety and fear – symptoms that might motivate a person to see a therapist. Because of social distancing, however, in-person sessions are less possible. For many, this has raised the prospect of online therapy. For clients in need of warmth and reassurance, could this work? Studies and my experience suggests it does.

Editor’s Note:

The Independent (UK)
I’m drinking Pedialyte as I write this. Not because I’m a toddler, or hungover; because I’m a healthcare worker during the time of Covid-19. I have no time to even take a sip of water during the day and I’m not allowed to call out if I get sick from dehydration. This is not how you want healthcare workers serving you, your family and your community during a pandemic.

Editor’s Note:

Washington Post
A third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression, Census Bureau data shows, the most definitive and alarming sign yet of the psychological toll exacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Editor’s Note:

Post and Courier (South Carolina)
As states across the country increasingly lift restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, many people are rightly fearful about leaving the safety of their homes. But that doesn’t mean they suffer from an anxiety disorder called agoraphobia, explained Christopher Sege, a research instructor and clinical psychologist with the Sleep and Anxiety Treatment & Research Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Editor’s Note:

The Globe and Mail
Doctors and nurses need to combat vaccine hesitancy in patients now, before one for coronavirus becomes available – if it does – for mass dispersion

Editor’s Note: Psychology may play a role not just in treating those who are suffering, but also helping put the pandemic to an end with a vaccine. Here Erin Anderssen speaks to researchers in Canada about vaccine hesitancy. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Fox News
“Since the lockdown, the center has seen a rise in depression cases involving loneliness, hopelessness and suicidal ideation. Anxiety in cases of agoraphobia appears to be more present as well,” Laura Rhodes-Levin, a licensed professional counselor and founder of The Missing Peace Center for Anxiety, told Fox News.

Editor’s Note:

Healio
Insights from past coronavirus outbreaks may help predict the psychiatric burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to results of a systematic review and meta-analysis published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Editor’s Note:

Jacobin Magazine
Before the pandemic, we were already in the middle of a mental health crisis. Now it’s even worse. We need a Medicare for All system not just to treat our medical needs, but our mental ones, too.

Editor’s Note:

Sydney Morning Herald
According to research from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “The characteristics of the trauma and the subsequent traumatic stress reactions can dramatically influence how individuals respond to the environment, relationships, interventions, and treatment services, and those same characteristics can also shape the assumptions that clients make about their world (e.g., their view of others, sense of safety), their future (e.g., hopefulness, fear of a foreshortened future), and themselves (e.g., feeling resilient, feeling incompetent in regulating emotions).”

Editor’s Note:

Stanford Daily
Two Stanford juniors have launched a mental wellness platform that connects users with trained volunteers for free 1-on-1 support sessions. The platform, Ray, has a team of volunteer “supporters” with backgrounds in peer counseling, crisis counseling and wellness support. The volunteers work to provide a safe space for individuals dealing with stress, anxiety and social isolation due to COVID-19.

Editor’s Note:

SBS
Many Australians have welcomed the gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions. We can now catch up with friends and family in small numbers, and get out and about a little more than we’ve been able to for a couple of months.

Editor’s Note: Mental health can be affected by exposure to the virus itself, but also by everything that has happened during widespread lockdowns. Here SBS reports off of a survey it conducted in Australia. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Financial Express
COVID-19: The medical profession is a stressful one even under normal circumstances. The demanding hours, psychological strain and cumbersome work processes can cause burnout, one of the most common conditions affecting doctors across the country. Anyone who has studied physician well-being will tell you that the profession is a combination of cynicism, exhaustion, and perceived inefficiency. A lot of burned-out physicians quit their jobs and the patients of the ones who don’t suffer worse health outcomes. Even so, burnout cannot even come close to capturing what physicians, nurses, and paramedical staff continue to experience as the pandemic overwhelms our overburdened healthcare system.

Editor’s Note:

The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A recent survey of about 1,000 Canadians suggests heavy drinking is highest among younger people and those worried about personal finances due to the pandemic.

Editor’s Note:

($) = This source has a hard paywall. You will need to suscribe to view this article.