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Managing Mental Health During COVID-19 — Telemedicine Can Help

This year’s mental health awareness campaign, You Are Not Alone, reminds people that now, more than ever, the mental health community is coming together to make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing.

Many people are understandably feeling scared, anxious and stressed during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is valid to want to talk to someone about your feelings, says Rachel Rohaidy, M.D., a psychiatrist with Baptist Health South Florida, and yet social distancing has created barriers to obtaining support from family, friends and coworkers. If left untreated, anxiety and depression can worsen and have long-term effects on your health. The good news is, mental health counseling is more accessible, convenient and affordable than ever before, thanks to telemedicine.

Telemental health services are not new, but their usage and acceptance are growing. Online mental health services are perfectly suited to this pandemic situation because they provide people with access to vital treatment without increasing risk of infection.

Through Baptist Health Care On Demand, Dr. Rohaidy and other experts are helping people cope with stress, loneliness, reduced autonomy and financial concerns from the comfort and safety of their homes. To speak to a licensed behavioral health professional through a secure live video chat, patients can download the Baptist Health Care On Demand app on their smartphone, tablet or computer, enroll by completing a brief questionnaire and then make an appointment via the app.

Baptist Health Care On Demand is also a good option for people who wish to move their routine in-person therapy sessions online. “Almost all mental health issues can be addressed via telemedicine,” Dr. Rohaidy added. “There are so many people we can reach who otherwise would not get help.”

When is the right time to seek professional help?According to Dr. Rohaidy, signs of mental distress include fighting with loved ones, bursts of anger or annoyance, crying spells, feelings of panic and excessive substance use. In children and teens, parents should watch for aggressive behavior, withdrawal and self-isolation, difficulty concentrating and complaints of aches and pain. “If you or a loved one cannot function or formulate thoughts and plans to move forward, then it is time to reach out to a mental health specialist,” Dr. Rohaidy advised.  

In many cases, self-care strategies can help people improve their mental health and increase resiliency. Dr. Rohaidy recommends implementing the following strategies that benefit your body and your mind:

Although following these tips can help many people manage mental health conditions, everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. If you would like to schedule a private visit with a licensed mental health specialist, download the free Baptist Health Care On Demand app [1] or visit BaptistHealth.net/CareOnDemand [2]. Use code WELLBEING to get $10 off your consultation, valid through December 31, 2020.