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Mental Health Needs Continue Beyond the Pandemic

Negar Beheshti MD, Chief Medical Officer TaraVista and MiraVista Behavioral Health Centers

The emergency declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic may end on May 11, however, the mental health needs of individuals affected by the pandemic are likely to continue long after the official declaration ends.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant stress and uncertainty for many people, including social isolation, financial difficulties, and concerns about health and safety. These stressors can take a toll on mental health, leading to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

While the end of the pandemic will bring some relief, it is important to recognize that the mental health impacts of the pandemic may be long-lasting. Therefore, it is essential to continue to prioritize mental healthcare and support, both for those who have been directly affected by the pandemic and for the general population.

This can include accessing mental health services, practicing self-care strategies such as mindfulness and exercise, and seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals as needed. By taking steps to address their mental health, individuals can promote their overall well-being and resilience in the face of ongoing challenges.

Mental Health America’s 2023 ranking of states in terms of higher access to mental healthcare shows Massachusetts continues in a top position. The Commonwealth, which has made access a priority through its recent creation of Community Behavioral Health Centers, ranks second, as it did in 2022, in terms of such markers as access to insurance, treatment, and quality and cost of insurance.

Lack of affordability and availability of services are consistently among the barriers cited in seeking mental healthcare, so it is good to see the state maintain its high ranking in comparison to other states. Massachusetts, through its Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, is working to reduce these barriers. At TaraVista and MiraVista, we are proud that during the pandemic our health system emerged as a responsive leader and reliable resource for mental health and substance use services for our communities.

It is crucial to recognize that the need for mental health care and resources will continue to exist post-pandemic, and individuals should be encouraged to seek help and support whenever necessary. Individuals who experience persisting mental health symptoms such as anxiety or depression should be aware they are not alone. There is no set time-line for healing and recovery. I encourage all individuals and parents of children to reach out for assistance in the early days of feeling distress. Early intervention is the best way to prevent a small problem from becoming a larger one and learning new coping strategies will help you for a life-time.

Our experienced clinicians at TaraVista and MiraVista deliver patient-centered and evidence-based care, helping those with mental health and substance use conditions to find their road to recovery in order to live a fulfilling life.