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Maybe you need to talk to someone

If you’re struggling, you’re not alone — and a therapist may be able to help

Everyone needs a psychotherapist. That’s a broad statement, but as a mental health clinician, I’ve seen evidence-based research that supports a significant increase in the demand for mental health treatment due to the pandemic and global health concerns. These times have challenged many of us, given the impact of COVID-19 and how it has compounded our daily stressors. 

For many months, we’ve been operating outside of our norm to cope with and adjust to changes in our environment. Individuals, families and communities have withstood sudden pressures in our social lives, changes to daily routines, loss of jobs, decreases in household income, marital stressors leading to unsafe emotional and/or physical environments and the responsibility of homeschooling children while schools were shut down. These stressors have manifested through feelings of sadness or depressed mood, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, fragmented sleep patterns, excessive sleep, over or undereating, excessive worrying, problems concentrating or remaining focused on a task, extreme mood changes and possible suicide ideation. 

If you’ve experienced any of these signs, it’s okay to say you’re not okay. Not acknowledging the stressors can result in a negative mental health outcome. Stressors can exacerbate symptoms such as somatic responses (i.e., constant physical pain, headaches, chest tightening or stomach pains), substance abuse, reckless behavior, and chronic unstable mood. These are only a few examples of stressor responses that result in negative mental health outcomes. 

If you are unsure what’s causing your symptoms, refer to a provider who can administer assessments to help you determine a base diagnosis and a way forward. Knowing and acknowledging these warning signs is a positive step toward contacting a licensed skilled mental health professional for assistance. A mental health care professional can help develop a treatment plan customized for you and your lifestyle. 

Keep in mind that there is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment. Options may include connection to local resources, support groups, psychotherapy, psychoeducation and/or medication. 

As mental health professionals, my peers and I look forward to helping you become a better you. 

Dr. Shelia Rivers is CEO of Rivers Psychotherapy Services and a Tulane University adjunct professor. Reach her at 

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