WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES, February 22, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Please consider publishing the following Men’s Health Network Op-Ed entitled “COVID-19 isolation contributes to mental health issues for men and boys.”
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COVID-19 isolation contributes to mental health issues for men and boys
By Robin Mather
For Men’s Health Network
COVID-19’s isolation may be necessary for physical health, but it’s causing a torrent of mental health problems for boys and young men that are worsening as the pandemic drags on.
Family members, friends and work colleagues can play an important part in monitoring the mental health of the men and boys they care about.
The Centers for Disease Control conducted a survey in June 2020 that showed more than 40 percent of respondents reporting at least once adverse mental or behavioral health affect, including anxiety, depression, and increased substance abuse to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19. You can read the results in full by going to https://bit.ly/2P4XxaP
More than a quarter of young adult respondents aged 18 to 24 years old reported that they had seriously considered suicide in the preceding month. Thoughts of committing suicide was also high for Hispanic respondents (18.6 percent) and Black respondents (15.1 percent).
Thoughts of suicide were higher among males than among females, the CDC said.
Young adults also reported the highest rates of anxiety and depression – nearly 63 percent reported one or both. Nearly a quarter said they had started or increased substance abuse to cope with pandemic-related stress and emotion.
“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,” the CDC said when it released the report.
Dr. Betty Lai is an assistant professor of counseling psychology at Boston College. She studies mental health in the aftermath of disasters, whether they’re a weather event like Hurricane Katrina or a man-made event such as the Boston Marathon bombing.
The current pandemic, she said in an interview published in the New York Times, is “a breeding ground for mental health disaster,” with unprecedented levels of risk factors. “This exposure period is prolonged, longer than anything we’ve seen before,” she said. Social isolation for young people who would otherwise be in school or college amplifies their mental health risk, she said.
Moreover, members of young men’s usual support systems – which may include adults – are often overwhelmed themselves. The pandemic is something that none of us have faced before.
Men’s Health Network (MHN) is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that advocates for men and boys on a variety of issues. In 2019, MHN worked with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to stage a conference called “Behavioral Aspects of Anxiety and Depression in the American Male.” You can read the full report on the conference at https://tinyurl.com/3ra8kt59.
The conference gathered community leaders, policymakers, thought leaders, men’s health activists, academic researchers, clinicians, and other stakeholders.
“Unlike most physical health disorders, mental health disorders are frequently stigmatized. People may be labeled crazy, leading to persons being ostracized, ashamed, and reluctant to seek help,” said Jean Bonhomme, M.D., who served as the project’s principal. Bonhomme is also the founder of the National Black Men’s Health Network. “For men and boys, these problems can be amplified by cultural expectations…