Friday, May 28, 2021

CMO Message - Mental Wellness

We’ve all experienced some level of chronic stress. Many of us, including those who contracted COVID-19 or lost a loved one during the pandemic, have also experienced trauma. Those with preexisting mental health issues would probably attest to those issues getting worse. With this additional chronic stress and trauma comes an increased risk of developing mental illness, psychological distress, decreased productivity, strained relationships, decreased immune function and uncontrolled chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

Recovery from these doesn’t happen over a long weekend of Netflix or one phone call with a friend. Healing takes time, personal dedication and effort and a healthcare system with enough resources to support its membership. The negative effects of what we’ve experienced emotionally can last months or even years without sufficient mental health support.

Just because we have more control over the pandemic now doesn’t mean our mental health automatically gets better—this isn’t how our brain and bodies work. Our brains and bodies hold on to what we’ve experienced until we process it and can move forward. Fatigue, heart palpitations, headaches, difficulty falling or staying asleep, digestive issues, poor memory, irritability or feeling on edge are signs that our brains and bodies are struggling with emotional health. Luckily, these aren’t permanent changes. Over time, as mental health improves, our brains and bodies function better so that we can thrive instead of merely survive.

The prevalence of anxiety and depression in the U.S. has at least quadrupled over the last year. Even before the pandemic, we were not doing a good job with mental health—half of Americans with mental health issues were going untreated. It’s important, now more than ever, that we decrease the barriers to proper care. We need to encourage all our loved ones and community members to talk openly about mental health and seek support. The road to recovery is challenging, but it shouldn’t be walked alone.

Healing is an ongoing process, and it’s normal to have difficulties or setbacks along the way. We partner with Teladoc to offer you support you no matter where you’re at on your journey. Through Teladoc, you have 24/7 access to board-certified doctors, licensed nurses and world-renowned specialists, available by phone or video. Through the Teladoc app, it is easy to set up your account in minutes and access care right away. You choose a therapist or psychiatrist who fits your needs and schedule visits from wherever you're most comfortable. It's convenient, confidential and on your time. Download the Teladoc app today and get connected with the right medical care.

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  • Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA