By Marycon Young, Vitals contributor
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on the mental health and well-being of many around the world, particularly among women.
A study recently published by the Lancet, led by academics at the University of Queensland, Australia, reported that cases of depression and anxiety have increased by more than a quarter in 2020.
According to the study, there have been 374 million cases of anxiety disorders around the world in 2020. Out of these, nearly 76 million were new cases caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and out of that number, 52 million were in women.
“Sadly, for numerous reasons, women are likely to be more affected by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic as they often carry the load when it comes to additional caring and household responsibilities,” said Dr. Alize Ferrari, co-author of the Lancet study in a press release. “Women are also more likely to be victims of domestic violence, which has increased at various stages of the pandemic.”
Tam Nguyen, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and director of ambulatory care for Mental Health & Addiction Care at Sutter Health, recently participated in She Shares for a timely panel discussion on mental health challenges women face during COVID-19.
During the virtual event, Dr. Nguyen highlighted some practical tips to improve one’s mental health and well-being including:
- Practicing mindfulness – the basic human ability to be fully aware of where we are and what we are doing – to stay in the present moment
- Exercising or engaging in activities that you find pleasurable and fun
- Engaging in the “opposite action” of what your mind or body wants to do during times when you are feeling down or withdrawn.
During the conversation. Dr. Nguyen also highlighted the importance of early intervention at the primary care level, expanding access through tele-mental health services and the belief that mental health is human health.
“Mental health is equally important as our physical health,” said Dr. Nguyen. “It is important that we can talk about it (mental health), and we are not alone.”
The panelists, which included California State Sen. Susan Eggman, Clinical Psychologist Hilary Van Horn-Gatlin, Ph.D., and local mom Eva Schwartz, shared their personal stories and insights. The full recording of the virtual event can be found here.
She Shares, launched in March 2012, is a unique conversation series featuring trailblazing women leaders who have created a lasting impact for women in California and beyond. Speakers candidly address key issues related to their careers, industries and personal experiences.