Mental Health Care During the Pandemic

Here in Canada, as elsewhere, there’s suddenly a lot of new programs for “mental health” being announced. Typically, these are online mindfulness or CBT courses, lists of ways to relax, calming mantras, or something similar.

These programs are helpful to some, particularly those experiencing a normal, human level of anxiety in these unusual circumstances. They’re not helpful for everyone. As we’ve said numerous times, mental health (and mental illness) is not a one-size-fits-all problem, and no one solution will solve it.

It’s not surprising that those with existing mental illness who are finding things more difficult now (which is to be expected) are often having more difficulty accessing care they need. Many clinics and mental health offices are closed, or running more focused and stripped-down care. That’s a problem, but not what I want to talk about.

How do you find the right help?

What’s missing, now more than ever, is a way for people to find the specific care they need. You’re told that if you need mental health help, check out this online (mindfulness, CBT, etc.) program. As Henry Ford would have said, “you can choose any color you’d like, as long as it’s black.”

What do you do if that program isn’t right for you? Or you try it and it doesn’t work?

There aren’t many answers in all the funding and announcements.

In fact, given the insidious nature of mental illness, your brain is more likely to turn to thoughts like:

I failed the program that was supposed to fix my mental health. I must be stupid. I’m doomed.

We can do better

We need to acknowledge that one size does not fit everyone. We still need to help people find the care they need. Now we’re relying on them to do that on their own. Those most capable of doing that are those most likely to fit those simple programs anyway. Those who need the help are on their own.

Now more than ever, people need help with navigating their mental health care.

As resources aren’t likely forthcoming, people are left on their own. That’s one of the big reasons we wrote Your Mental Health Repair Manual. It guides you through the process of navigating your mental health care, on their own, or with the support of friends and family.

It’s no substitute for professionals who can help direct you to the help you need, and make sure it works. But it will help you keep moving forward in the right direction.

People need this sort of guidance now more than ever.