What Do ‘Mental Health’ Problems Actually Look Like?
2. Consider those around you. Approach this
process from a perspective of seeking to
understand rather than blame or condemn.
When someone (a family member, friend, or
colleague) is displaying behaviors that aren’t
healthy for them and for those around them,
realize these are signs of stress in their lives.
They are experiencing these moods or using
the behaviors to cope with the stress they are
experiencing in the best way they know how
3. Identify and connect with resources to help.
Again, start with yourself. Find resources
(online ones from reputable organizations are
best) to help you better understand what you
are experiencing and ways to better manage
your stress than the unhealthy ways you may
If sharing with others, either share the resources
globally with the group (“given the long-term stress
we’ve all been under, I thought it will be helpful to
have some places to turn to help each of us manage
the stress well”), or, if sharing with an individual
make sure you have first listened well and have an
understanding of their current life situation and make
clear your concern for them and desire to be helpful.
We can get through this difficult season, but doing
so taxes our personal resources. Having occasional
glitches of not handling situations well is to be
expected. But do your best to pay attention to early
warning signs and symptoms. Do what you can to
engage in those activities (hobbies, hiking, music,
talking with friends) that re-energize you. And
seek out support to deal with your challenges in a
healthy way – both from those around you as well
Resources for Further Reading
●● Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coping with
Stress, January 22, 2021, includes information on healthy
ways to cope with stress, mental health and crisis, helping
others cope, and contact information for crisis prevention
agencies. World Health Organization, Mental Health and
Covid-19, resource page with news stories, advice for staying
mentally health while at home, and coping techniques for
adults and children.
●● U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Mental
Health and Coping during the Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Pandemic, resource page, information on identifying signs
of mental health issues, contact information for support
services help lines, advice for coping, and a section on
talking to children about coronavirus, supporting older
adults, supporting veterans.
●● Kaiser Family Foundation, The Implications of Covid-19
for Mental Health and Substance Use, February 10, 2021,
includes information about prevalence of mental illness and
substance use disorder during the pandemic in adults, youth,
and communities of color.
●● Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mental Health,
Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the Covid-19
Pandemic – United States, June 24-30, 2020.
●● American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children, Mental
Health during Covid-19: Signs Your Child May Need More
Support, October 23, 2020.
●● Healthline, 11 Things to Know about Domestic Violence During
Covid-19 and Beyond, November 4, 2020.
Paul White, Ph.D., is a Psychologist,
Author, and Speaker who makes
“work relationships work”. He has
consulted with a wide variety of
organizations including Microsoft, the
U.S. Air Force, Princeton University and
many more. He is co-author of three
books including The 5 Languages of
Appreciation in the Workplace and The
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