In these difficult times, we find ourselves taking comfort in the methods that will attempt to make us feel better, like reaching out to friends and family or heading out on a walk to clear our heads.
And, as lockdown begins to ease, you’re bound to be feeling anxious as the initial self-isolation was implemented to keep us safe.
An international study has revealed that 41 percent of the UK population’s mental health is at now at risk because of the crisis, so what’s the answer?
SmartTMS is a non-invasive treatment that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain that can relieve symptoms of depression, along with other mental health conditions.
We caught up with Dr Pegah Shojaii TMS Practitioner at SmartTMS who can shed light on how the global pandemic has impacted the nation’s mental health and explain how this method of treatment can help those who are suffering.
How Has COVID19 Impacted The Nation’s Mental Health?
“COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on the nation’s mental health, causing increased levels of stress as well as heightened anxiety and depression.
“The recent pandemic has not only played a role in triggering anxiety for those who have not previously experienced anxiety related conditions, but it has also exasperated symptoms for individuals who do struggle with their mental health.
“The effects of this includes enhanced levels of hopelessness, despair, fear, and overall the worsening of mental health.
“Therefore, it is important for us as a nation to support each other and promote behaviours and activities related to positive mental wellbeing.”
Will The Loneliness That People Have Experienced Have Longer Lasting Implications?
“The pandemic has caused major changes in peoples’ lives, especially among those vulnerable individuals who live alone, as well as those who are currently shielding.
“I have noticed that vulnerable groups in society have concerns relating to how they can adapt to the new normal. These individuals have not been able to go outside and explore the changes in terms of how supermarkets, stores, and transportation methods currently operate, and the lack of exploration can result in fear, social anxiety, and thus increased feelings of isolation.
“If you know someone who is living alone, check on them, give them updates, so that they can become more familiarised with the new normal.
By doing this we can help make a difference to those currently struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness.”
Do You Have Any Tips For Regaining Some Control Over Our Mental Health?
“Feeling in control of our lives is an important factor in improving mental health and wellbeing.
“A sense of control can influence our behavioural responses, and enable us to feel less overwhelmed, and more empowered. You could try:
- Having a routine/schedule in place. This not only helps manage expectations, but also provides structure to our lives.
- Challenging anxious thoughts. Being able to confront those negative thoughts that wander in our minds, and change our negative responses, provides us with an opportunity to develop a proactive approach in overcoming challenges.
- Practising mindfulness. This can help create self-awareness which is strongly linked to self-control.
- Taking a breath when challenges occur. Step back, re-evaluate the situation and then take lead, by doing this we can identify alternative solutions and thus increase our emotional awareness.
- Focusing on your emotional and physical wellbeing. You can do this by eating well, sleeping well, exercising, and also strengthening your self-compassion. This can be vital in helping us feel more in control of the physical and psychological aspects of our lives.”
How Does SmartTMS Differ From The Other Treatments For Depression?
“The current treatments available for depression and anxiety, includes psychological treatment, medication, electroconvulsive therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.
“Although talking therapies can be effective in treating depression and anxiety – and play an important role in helping individuals make changes to adapt to challenges – there have been some limitations to talking therapies.
“For example, some people may feel uncomfortable and anxious in confronting their emotions, in addition to this, talking therapies may not address the underlying causes of mental health conditions, e.g. neural communication deficits.
“Although, some people may initially have a positive response to anti-depressants, there are a range of side effects involved, such as diarrhoea, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, increased appetite, migraine, nausea, nervousness, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, and also weight gain.
“At Smart TMS, we implement a safe, non-invasive and well tolerated approach in treating a range of different mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.
“We use Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to deliver magnetic pulses to specific regions of the brain (e.g. the cortical areas that are most affected by the condition).
As well as being NICE approved, TMS has been found to be effective in relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The side effects of TMS includes mild headaches, mild fatigue, and a risk of seizures (1 in 50,000), which differs a great deal when compared to the side effects associated with medication and ECT.
“Furthermore, at Smart TMS, our depression remission rate is 60 percent, with 75 percent of Smart TMS treated patients having a reduction in their symptoms of at least 30 percent.
“In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Smart TMS have provided FREE Mental Health Self Care Packs. These packs have been tailored to different conditions including depression and anxiety.”