It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in psychology to determine that months of social and political strife combined with a deadly pandemic have negatively impacted mental health nationwide.
In fact, it takes only a brief Google search to learn that just about every American demographic has sustained some form of emotional and spiritual impact in the midst of racial protests, a divisive election season and the coronavirus outbreak.
But where expertise is useful is in finding solutions — like those to be discussed during Baptist News Global’s Sept. 14 webinar, “Conversations that Matter: Maintaining Mental Health During a Pandemic.”
Five leading mental health professionals will cover modalities of psychological and spiritual healing during the free, 90-minute webinar that begins at 6 p.m. Central Time. Each participant is an expert in emotional care and will offer insight into approaches tailored to a time of heightened stress.
Webinar participants are:
- Atlanta-based health care chaplain Grace Powell Freeman.
- Rowell, Ga.-based pastoral counselor Doyle R. Hamilton III.
- Dallas psychologist Kathryn Keller.
- Knoxville, Tenn. psychotherapist Eric Minton.
- Brad Schwall, president and CEO of the Center for Integrative Counseling and Psychology in Dallas.
Each panel member works on the front lines of mental and emotional health — areas of life under great duress.
For starters, cases of depressive symptoms have more than tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent article in the American Medical Association’s journal. Its authors found that socioeconomic factors have a significant impact on mental well-being.
“Lower income, having less than $5,000 in savings, and having exposure to more stressors were associated with greater risk of depression symptoms during COVID-19,” the study found.
Parents and children have suffered significant mental health declines when job losses, decreases in income, child care challenges and illness have occurred during the pandemic, researchers reported in “Pediatrics,” the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“The COVID-19 crisis, although affecting all Americans, has hit vulnerable populations particularly hard, including hourly workers, who face unstable employment and earnings; communities of color, who face high rates of infection and poor clinical outcomes; and families with young children, who face dual caregiver and/or breadwinner demands,” the journal reported.
And the Centers for Disease Control reports an increase in anxiety and depressive disorders resulting from stay-at-home orders and physical distancing. CDC said the number of Americans facing suicidal thoughts also has increased during the pandemic.
“Community-level intervention and prevention efforts, including health communication strategies, designed to reach these groups could help address various mental health conditions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” CDC explained.
The mental health professionals impaneled for BNG’s webinar bring broad-range expertise to the event, including marriage and family counseling, pastoral care and trauma and anxiety counseling. The event will be moderated by Mark Wingfield, executive director and publisher of BNG.
Registration is free but required. Visit the event registration page for more information and to register.