Since COVID-19 hit the United States, the world as we know it has changed. People are scared, confused, and isolated as the healthcare system tries to manage this growing pandemic. Healthcare workers and first responders are working long hours and dealing with one of the scariest illnesses to hit our country in over 100 years. The medically fragile are terrified that they are next. Mental health issues due to COVID-19 are on the rise across the country. If your mental health is being affected by COVID-19, you may want to consider applying for short and long-term disability benefits.
The Stress for Health Care Workers
This pandemic has hardest hit healthcare workers and first responders. Each day, they endure long working hours treating patients who are likely dying from an illness with no cure, all while trying to protect themselves from catching it. They leave work physically and mentally exhausted to go home and spend more time sanitizing themselves to avoid infecting their families. Many emergency room doctors and employees sleep in their cars, garages, or even tents to keep distance between them and their families. Although doctors and nurses are accustomed to seeing death at work, losing patients at such an alarming rate has been shattering the medical community.
The Stress for High-Risk People
The healthcare system has been the hardest hit, but people who are considered high-risk are also experiencing lasting mental health issues. People who suffer from the following illnesses are considered high risk:
- People who are 65 years or older;
- People with moderate to severe asthma;
- People with diabetes;
- People with chronic lung disease;
- People with liver disease;
- People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis; and
- People who are immunocompromised.
Although the CDC issued guidelines requesting these groups of people to stay home, many states are opening back up for business. This means that your employer could require you to return to work even if you are on the high-risk list. Many employees are scared but return to work, fearing being fired or appearing uncommitted to their jobs. Isolation has also become an accelerator for people who are already suffering from depression.
Signs You Are Stressed Out
It may be hard to spot the signs that you are stressed and headed for burnout when you are exhausted and consumed by your job. Here are some signs to look for:
- Increase in mental health conditions;
- Increase in chronic health problems;
- Increased use of alcohol and tobacco; and
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping for excessive amounts of time.
Ways to Help Your Mental Health During COVID-19
Learning to cope with the stress of COVID-19 is critical to overall mental and physical health. Here are some ways to help you cope:
- Teletherapy – According to online therapy provider Talkspace, teletherapy, including text messages with a therapist, has jumped by 65% since mid-February. Teletherapy is a great way to get help in managing your mental health.
- Take a news break – Consuming too much news about COVID-19 will continue to feed your anxiety and depression. Disconnect from social media for a while if you find that also brings you more anxiety.
- Connect with people you love – Spend time talking on the phone, texting, or video chatting with those you care about and know care about you.
- Develop a self-care plan – Create a plan to care for yourself. This doesn’t have to be a spa day. But it may mean a lot of rest at home. Eat healthily and exercise to keep your body strong.
- Learn the signs of burnout – recognizing the signs of burnout is essential to your overall mental health. Know when your body has enough and take time to re-energize.
Short and Long-Term Disability Options for Mental Health Recovery
Recovering from a mental health illness means taking an extended time from work to seek treatment. If you don’t have an individual short or long-term disability policy, check with your employer’s HR department to see if one is provided for you. Ask for a copy of your policy and read it thoroughly to determine your mental illness coverage. Although mental illness is classified as a disability, coverage is usually only for up to two years. You will also have to prove that your disability is preventing you from performing your job safely and effectively. Likewise, if you have a history of mental illness, you will need to show that your symptoms have worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic to have a successful claim.
RELATED POST: COVID-19 and Long-Term Disability Benefits
Contact a Disability Attorney
In this situation, it is best to consult with an experienced disability attorney who can help guide you through the process. You can receive a free consultation by calling the Ortiz Law Firm at (888) 321-8131. The Ortiz Law Firm has successfully represented people in disability cases across the United States. There is no obligation to use our firm, and you can ask any questions.