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Published on April 06, 2022

Caring for Our Mental Health and Well-Being as the Pandemic Improves

COVID-19 cases might be on the decline, but you might still feel the way you did when medical centers were full of COVID-19 patients and lockdowns were in high gear.

Health care workers certainly bore the brunt of the pandemic, and their efforts have been lauded across the globe. But that doesn’t mean those in other professions as well as stay at home parents and others haven’t felt extra stress and anxiety.

Different Challenges

Many of us faced different challenges and changing work environments and issues that will continue into the future. Many worked extraordinarily long hours; your skills were pushed to the limit; and you experienced things you have never experienced before—both professionally and personally.

As the community moves closer to pre-pandemic routines and practices, many of you may still be feeling the emotional impacts of the pandemic. Recent Kaiser Foundation studies showed that health care workers in particular experienced unprecedented levels of:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Exhaustion
  • Burnout
  • Feeling of being overwhelmed

Lasting Health Effects

Importantly, the Kaiser Foundation found that the general public saw a four-fold increase in depression and anxiety symptoms. There is little doubt that nearly all of us have experienced heightened levels of these feelings over the past couple of years. But if these feelings are allowed to fester, we could be setting ourselves up for some long term health problems, such as:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Increased dependency on alcohol or drugs

It is important that we take time to reflect on the impact of the past two years—emotionally, physically and mentally. We also need to check in on those around us to ensure they are doing OK and connect them to resources as needed. It is OK to ask for help; in order to care for others you must first care for yourself.

Bryan Health cares about you and your emotional and mental well-being. We offer many resources to ensure your needs are being met. We encourage you to take a free, confidential, behavioral health screening at screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/bryanhealth and use the various resources available here.

dave miers

About Dr. Dave Miers

Dave Miers, PhD, is director of behavioral health services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

He helped establish the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition in 1999 and chaired/co-chaired this Coalition until 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Directors. Dr. Miers is a member of the leadership group for the Lincoln/Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Dr. Miers has published research and co-authored a chapter in the Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research focusing on family survivors of a child suicide. Dr. Miers helped develop the Lincoln Lancaster Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) team in Lincoln, Neb. He also helped develop other LOSS teams in Nebraska and is active with LOSS team development on a national level.

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