Meetings with Matt: Going over Mental Health


Matt Chowansky

The cover for the bi-weekly column of Meetings with Matt, only on The Voyager for EHS.

Let’s face it – during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, you probably haven’t taken the time to sit back and really dive into how your mental health has changed since the pandemic began. That seems to be the case for most Americans. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, 31% of adults have reported experiencing anxiety and depression symptoms in late June. That percentage is significantly higher than June 2019, pre-pandemic.


In some form, we’ve all experienced changes to our mental health that are directly related to the uncertainty of the world in addition to the coronavirus. Mental health is real. Some individuals tend to believe that having some type of mental illness, whether it be anxiety, or some other type, that it is a bad thing. It’s most certainly not a bad thing at all, and the stigma associated with mental illness needs to be stopped. 


Experts around the United States have been on record stating there are several things one experiencing mental illness could do. Some experts recommend eating well, drinking on a regular basis, asking for help, and talking about your feelings among other things to maintain your mental health during this tough time we are all experiencing. 


For so long, some people think that talking to a therapist makes you weak and vulnerable. Are you vulnerable talking to a therapist? Absolutely. Is it a bad thing? Absolutely not. 


Talking your feelings out with a professional expert and seeking help in a time where most people are struggling more than ever is a great outlet. It’s not good to bottle up all your feelings and never talk about them. It’s highly recommended and encouraged that you speak to a professional about the feelings you’re experiencing.


Substance abuse in the United States has reached an all-time high since the coronavirus pandemic began earlier this year. The number of deaths caused by substance abuse leading to an overdose are also soaring into an all-time high. There are several ways to prevent substance abuse from happening in a normal world with several outpatient rehabilitation centers being open, but due to the fact that the majority of them have closed due to the pandemic, those who struggle with abuse aren’t able to get the exact help they need. In addition to rehabilitation centers being closed, hospitals are also reaching capacity due to those who contract coronavirus having to be admitted to the hospital.


Mental health is something that always should be a priority. Being alone sucks, and obviously leads to people developing severe anxiety, substance abuse, and depression. Depression is also one of the top mental health illnesses that have been determined to be in direct relation to the coronavirus. At the beginning of the pandemic, this was new for everybody leading to a heightened level of anxiety because it almost felt like the world was coming to an end. Literally. However, things have changed significantly with the recent development of a vaccine that is going to be implemented in all 50 states sometime in the near future. This latest development provided most that were experiencing some form of depression and anxiety related to the disease that is going around with some sense of reassurance that everything is going to be alright, as well as hope that the world will turn into the normal we know it as and have known it for all of our lifetimes.