Coronavirus anxiety has taken hold everywhere since almost everyone is at risk of contracting this illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Covid-19 Coronavirus a global pandemic. As of March 29, 2020, 1:54 GMT there have been 663,674 cases and 30,874 deaths. In the US alone, there are 123,688 total cases and 2,222 total deaths.
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You may want to consider online therapy on a temporary basis to cope with your coronavirus anxiety – especially during self-isolation.
How to Control Coronavirus Anxiety
There are a number of simple steps that you can take to manage coronavirus anxiety. These include staying connected with your loved ones, practicing mindfulness, avoiding negative thoughts, or limiting watching the news. The last one is perhaps the most important as watching the news for long time durations each day is almost guaranteed to exacerbate coronavirus anxiety.
A Guide to Managing Coronavirus Anxiety
The following steps should be followed to counter coronavirus anxiety.
- Wash your hands often. Make sure that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Do not go outside unless it is absolutely essential.
- Watch the news in moderation.
- Do not follow the news and guidelines from unreliable online resources. Beware of “fake news.”
- Don’t watch movies about global pandemics, such as Contagion or Outbreak.
- If you are in quarantine or self-isolation, you should arrange your space to make it as soothing and tranquil as possible.
- Practice mindfulness and deep breathing. This is as simple as being aware of your mental state and ensuring that your breathing is not short and shallow.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional if necessary.
Rising Coronavirus Anxiety
With the spread of Covid-19 (the name of the disease that the coronavirus causes), the percentage of people seeking help at companies like Betterhelp has significantly jumped. Similar trends are appearing elsewhere, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses. The Alliance reports that people are becoming increasingly anxious and even suicidal due to threats the coronavirus poses to their lives and income sources.
Many people now need help and counseling, besides those facing financial and mental issues. However, mental health systems are now struggling to cope with the dramatic rise in numbers of those seeking help for coronavirus anxiety. Around half of 60 million people with mental health problems in the US do not seek professional assistance. According to the results of a survey carried out by the National Council for Behavioral Health in 2018, about a quarter of all Americans who faced mental health crises had to decide between paying for their treatment or basic necessities. Additionally, the survey respondents reported problems that prevented them from getting help, such as poor insurance coverage, rising costs, and long queues.
Mental health support is even more difficult to access for those individuals that rely on free services. Many of them have to suffer silently and have little options for getting the help that they so badly need. These persons will almost certainly be the worst afflicted by coronavirus anxiety.
Solutions for Coronavirus Anxiety
Regulatory procedures may be necessary to improve the response and capacity of mental health services. While help-lines and fee-based teleservices for mental health are making a critical life-saving difference for many, there is still much room for improvement. There is a lot that needs to be done to address the deficiencies and shortcomings of these crucial services.
Several ethical and practical problems beset these services. For instance, poor people and those in deep debt may not be able to afford the cost of these services. There are also certain areas where people may have limited or no access to these critical services. Is it fair for low-income people living in the wrong geographical locations to be denied these services or to have limited access?
Medicare, the government health service that provides insurance for seniors and those suffering from disabilities, provides coverage largely in areas that have a higher demand for such services. Hence, those areas with a lower demand are given lower priority. Another government health service, Medicaid, does not reimburse telephone-based mental treatment costs in a few states. There are also problems with the policies of many insurance carriers. Some provide insurance coverage for telephone-based mental therapy while others don’t.
The federal government must introduce rules and regulations to ensure that no one is denied insurance coverage and medical care on the basis of low-income or geographical location. These measures are necessary, especially in cases where therapists and patients live too far away to meet each other. At present, government regulations require in-person visits for anxiety treatment medication. This situation presents a problematic scenario for mentally ill patients with coronavirus anxiety because they have to practice self-isolation and social distancing to remain safe from the epidemic.
Under such circumstances, it may be too difficult or impossible to meet a health care provider in person. As a consequence, they may be unable to obtain prescriptions that can help their coronavirus anxiety.
Another possibility that should be considered is the acceptance of out-of-network insurance claims. Insurance companies should accept claims of all members, including those who have to resort to out-of-network treatment. The rationale for this is that it is often hard to find healthcare practitioners who will accept the plan since it may be offering a low reimbursement rate. This implies out-of-pocket costs for the health plan participants, which may create all sorts of problems. Patients facing such issues may delay treatment, particularly if they are facing financial difficulties. They may even choose to go without treatment.
Another proposal is that state governments should relax their healthcare licensing requirements. This will allow healthcare practitioners to provide their services outside state boundaries with minimal restrictions. The result will be a higher level of healthcare services that are the need of the hour.
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The problem with licensing requirements is that a medical professional licensed in one state may not be able to provide services in another state unless a license is obtained from that state. Doing away with licensing regulations will prove to be a boon for states that are currently facing a shortage of telephone-based therapy.
In short, the federal and state governments must take action now to improve the capacity of the healthcare system in case it is inundated by the imminent surge of Covid-19 cases.