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Managing Mental Health as Parents and Providers

Managing Mental Health as Parents and Providers

Sep 1, 2020

Across South Jersey—and the country—parents are struggling to manage the “new normal.” They are not only faced with making a difficult decision about how to educate their kids, but also managing the new reality that their kids will likely be home at least part of the time. This difficult situation not only affects your patients, but also you as parents and providers. It’s vital for both you and your patients to mind your mental health during the stress of this pandemic.

“Many of us are exhausted from the unknowns that have plagued this year,” said David Moore, executive director of Mental and Behavioral Health at Inspira. “Especially with the uncertainty surrounding education this fall, the child support system has become increasingly essential because it has dwindled to just the immediate family—only adding to the existing responsibilities of the parent.”

Children are taking cues on how to manage the stress of the pandemic from their parents—which means it’s important for parents to try and remain strong during this time. Yet between making dinner, doing schoolwork, spending quality time, preparing for work and finding time for themselves, parents’ anxiety is transforming from situational to debilitating.

“Anticipatory anxiety is normal, but dysfunctional anxiety makes you short-tempered and irritable. Sometimes, it leads to substance abuse,” said Moore. “Because your child’s anxiety will parallel yours, you need to be aware if you feel you are crossing that line. If you’re feeling confident about how you are managing this situation, your child will follow suit.”

Whether a patient is struggling with a substance use disorder or mental health issues, Inspira can assist South Jersey residents across the entire behavioral health spectrum with inpatient, partial hospitalization and outpatient therapy programs for adolescents and adults. With a focus on comprehensive, multidisciplinary treatment plans, we take a holistic approach to behavioral health and addiction recovery.

Parents understand the consequences of mishandling their behavioral health issues and addiction tendencies. While the stresses of COVID-19 have not made parenting any easier, parents should feel comfortable managing these new realities—and that starts with recognizing their own limitations and pulling the levers for help.

“When you’re the head of the family, there is a tendency to try to keep it all together. But that’s not how it should be. You need to take care of yourself first. Just focus on one problem at a time,” said Moore.

Whether you are a provider developing new strategies for patient care, or a provider and parent wondering how you’ll manage this fall, know that Inspira is focused on the increased need for mental health care.

Patients facing behavioral health challenges can feel relieved knowing they can receive high-quality care in the comfort of their own backyard—regardless of their ability to pay.

As a provider, helping patients with their behavioral health care starts with their primary care visit. To ensure patients are receiving the care they need, providers should screen patients for depression and other mental health related illnesses during their yearly physical or regularly scheduled appointments. Simply asking questions about your patient’s mental health not only offers them a chance to address their struggles but helps break down the stigma surrounding mental health one appointment at a time.

To refer a patient, call our Behavioral Health Access Counselors at 1-800-INSPIRA.

Topics: Behavioral Health