C-Force: In the Face of Mental Health Challenges, Seek to Find More Flow

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Last week, I once again echoed concerns about the pandemic's "long-haul" damage to everyone's mental health. It's not the first time I've rung that bell.

As recently as October, I wrote about the nation's leading pediatric groups calling the state of children's mental health a crisis and a "national emergency." In June, I reported on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Census Bureau study that found a disturbing increase in the numbers of adults with spiking anxiety and depression during the pandemic. Sounds like a full-blown mental health crisis to me.

And I'm not alone. Far from it. According to the findings of a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll released Jan. 10, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe it to be true.

In a rare moment of an across-the-board agreement, the poll found that nearly 9 in 10 registered voters believe that the nation is in the midst of a mental health crisis. USA Today says the results reflect a survey of 1,000 registered voters taken by cellphone and landline from Dec. 27 to Dec. 30, 2021.

Jared Skillings is chief of professional practice for the American Psychological Association. He believes that the poll verifies that mental health is "no longer just a discussion among academics or in elite policy circles." He goes on to say that it is hoped that "widespread" citizen concern will spark the needed political pressure to "go beyond the short-term fixes."

"There are huge inequities in access to care," says Shelli Avenevoli, deputy director for the National Institute of Mental Health. "That's pretty much our predominant problem: the inability for all people to have equal access to high-quality, evidence-based care."


According to the NIMH, "across all age groups, estimates suggest that only half of people with mental illnesses receive treatment."

In addition to the poll findings, USA Today states that, in 2021, "more people around the world Googled 'how to maintain mental health' than ever before." Reports Google, "queries surged nearly 70% between April and May." An independent survey released in August by the American Psychological Association says that many people are "feeling overwhelmed by day-to-day struggles."

While not directly stated, mental health and self-care are somewhat mirrored in the majority of America's top New Year's resolutions for 2022. A national online survey from Fidelity Investments conducted in December, consisting of 3,031 adults 18 years of age and older, found eating more nutritiously, spending more time with loved ones and exercising more topped the list. In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted by RetailMeNot, the answers were similar. The top responses were exercising more, reducing stress, losing weight, spending more time with family and traveling.

Richard Huskey is an assistant professor of communication and cognitive science at University of California, Davis. In addition, he is the principle investigator in the Cognitive Communication Science Lab, where his studies include how motivation influences the attitudes people hold and the behaviors they adopt. "Our resolutions represent a plan for something new, or at least a little bit different," he recently wrote in a post on the Conversation. "As you craft your 2022 resolutions, I hope that you will add one that is also on my list: feel more flow."


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Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate, Inc.



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