COVID-19: Dr. Ben Miller Thinks BIG & little

You’re listening to the Mental Health Download from the nonprofit Mental Health Association Oklahoma. I’m Matt Gleason.
On today’s episode, our guest is Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, who serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Well Being Trust. The Well Being Trust is a national foundation committed to advancing the mental, social and spiritual health of the nation. He’s also serves as a board member for Mental Health Colorado.
And Dr. Rebecca Hubbard, who serves as Mental Health Association Oklahoma’s Director of Outreach, Prevention and Education, is joining me today to interview Dr. Miller.
We asked Ben to be on the Mental Health Download because the Well Being Trust collaborated with the Kaiser Family Foundation on the fascinating research brief titled, “The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use.”
Key takeaways from the research include:

Recent data shows that significantly higher shares of people who were sheltering in place (47%) reported negative mental health effects resulting from worry or stress related to coronavirus than among those not sheltering in place (37%). Negative mental health effects due to social isolation may be particularly pronounced among older adults and households with adolescents, as these groups are already at risk for depression or suicidal ideation.

And the research shows that job loss is associated with increased depression, anxiety, distress, and low self-esteem and may lead to higher rates of substance use disorder and suicide.

Additionally, poor mental health due to burnout among front-line workers and increased anxiety or mental illness among those with poor physical health are also concerns. Those with mental illness and substance use disorders pre-pandemic, and those newly affected, will likely require mental health and substance use services. The pandemic spotlights both existing and new barriers to accessing mental health and substance use disorder services.


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