Tips to Provide Mental Health Support to Patients During the Holiday Season
For many individuals, the holiday season brings increased familial tension and financial stress. Other issues include feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially for individuals who have limited holiday visits and travel options. These wintertime stressors often increase anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.
As a result, mental health care professionals should take additional time screening and talking with patients about their mental health. These methods can help.
Implement these tips to provide mental health support to your patients during the holiday season.
Offer Inpatient, Outpatient, and Telehealth Appointments
Patients appreciate the convenience of choosing inpatient, outpatient, or telehealth appointments during the busy holiday season. These opportunities help your patients receive the mental health support they need during what typically is a stressful time of year.
Look for Signs of Mental Health Concerns
Identify signs of anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns in your patients. Examples include:
- Sleep problems
- Stomach pain
- Panic attacks
You should create a welcoming and safe space to discuss each patient’s signs of mental health concerns. Also, you might suggest your patients limit their consumption of holiday treats that include sugar, white flour, and simple carbs that encourage unhealthy eating and worsen mental health. Instead, your patients should focus on eating fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods to support physical and mental wellness.
Discuss Limiting Obligations During the Holiday Season
Many individuals experience significantly higher stress levels because they take on too much during the holiday season. As a result, the mental health of these individuals typically declines.
The expectation to attend family events, a lack of money to provide desired gifts, and grief surrounding the loss of a loved one can be sources of increased stress during the holidays. Combining these factors with the cold weather and limited amount of sunlight can worsen feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression.
As a result, you should talk with each patient about choosing to participate in the activities and events that mean the most to them and declining the rest. Your patients can use the time freed up to focus on self-care. These actions help support mental health during the holiday season.
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