COVID-19 brings mental health to forefront

In a time where there are a lot of unknowns, levels of stress, anxiety and depression can flare up.  

Area mental health professionals want people to know that we are all in this together and that it is normal to have these feelings.  

“In general, the population is more anxious and on edge because of the unknowns. There is a lot of fear going on right now about how long this might last,” said Blaine resident Tim Mortenson, CEO of Bridging Hope Counseling.

The COVID 19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Mortenson's business, Bridging Hope Counseling, which has locations in Lino Lakes, Rogers and Buffalo. A lot of clients have canceled their appointments for a multitude of reasons, including the loss of a job, the inability to pay for health insurance or fear to leave one's home.

Bridging Hope Counseling is known for its dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) groups, which teach skills such as mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance. Even though the weekly groups are not able to meet right now, the group facilitators are putting together videos so their clients can keep practicing those skills.

In addition to incorporating social distancing and a stricter cleaning regimen, the clinics remain open for clients who feel comfortable in making visits. For those who do not, or need to stay at home, Bridging Hope Counseling is offering Tele-Health services, which allows clients to see their therapist in an online video format. “It is not the same as meeting face-to-face, but it is important for people to have an ongoing relationship with their therapist. Seeing each other makes a big difference,” Mortenson said.

On a positive note, the pandemic is “bringing mental health to the forefront that it needs to be at,” Mortenson explained. “It is okay to have these feelings. You are not alone. We are all in this together. Nobody is excluded from what we are dealing with right now; you are either directly or indirectly affected from this. It is okay to be feeling the way you are feeling,” he said.

Now is the time that people need to be vulnerable and talk about the way they are feeling instead of internalizing it.

“If you do need assistance, there are people out there for you. Especially in the mental health field, there (are) a lot of great professionals out there who are trained for times like this,” Mortenson said. 

“Even though they are therapists, they are feeling the same exact thing right now. They have the same worries that you and I have.”

 

Lead Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or quadnews@presspubs.com.

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