Most people think post-traumatic stress disorder affects soldiers home from war or people who have suffered horrifically abusive situations. The reality is that PTSD can overwhelm almost any person who has lived through times of severe stress. In fact, the major international events of 2020 have likely caused you a number of stressful moments.
Understanding the diagnosis of PTSD is important, and experts say taking care of your mental health during a crisis is the best way to minimize more detrimental long-term effects.
Glenn Scott, LCSW, works to advocate for mental health care in his position as director of the Youth Partial Hospital Program at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center. Scott offers insight on what people can do to improve their well-being before psychological disorders develop.
1. Check in with others
In a time when you feel you’re being isolated or as though you need to talk about the trauma you’re experiencing, reach out to your circle of support. Check in on your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. If you’re able to reach out to those around you, you can strengthen a bond with those members of your circle and offer them an opportunity for healing as well. Sometimes, building up your community will relieve stress and help you share the burden of trauma with those who care about you and support you. Start the conversation in your own family and work out from there.
2. Don’t let the news cycle overwhelm you
Limiting news does not mean being uninformed. It’s important to be aware, but a part of that means knowing your limit. It can be overwhelming when social media and the 24-hour news cycle all promise to have the latest “need-to-know.” If your mental health is beginning to suffer from the exposure, the best thing you can do is to step away and give your brain some time to rest.
3. Practice self-care
Make activities that improve your mental health part of your daily schedule. Whether it’s going on a run, taking a nap, listening to music or meditating in silence, take time to escape everything going on in the world. It’s much better to engage in positive activities for self-care rather than using self-medication or other unhealthy methods.
4. Get help
Many healthcare professionals are offering video visits so you can get treatment from home. Many studies show PTSD treatment over telehealth is just as effective as face-to-face treatments. Be intentional about finding a mental health provider with whom you feel comfortable opening up, and remember that reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.
Loma Linda University Health providers are committed to ensuring all patients have access to the care they need during this stressful time. Patients can schedule virtual or telephone visits by visiting MyChart or calling their provider.
To continue the conversation, watch Glenn Scott’s Facebook Live segment, "Mental Health and Trauma."
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, make sure they know about the Mental Health Programs at Loma Linda University Behavioral Health. Visit LLUBMC.org to learn more.