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Coronavirus, Social Isolation and Behavioral Health

As businesses shutter, schooling goes virtual and stay-at-home orders persist in the wake of the coronavirus, countless people struggle with the effects of isolation. Those who already deal with mental health and substance abuse issues find their symptoms magnified. And the overall stress of uncertainty, change, and political tumult leads to new behavioral health problems where none existed before.

If you fall into one of these categories, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, one recent poll showed the percentage of people in the US who say their mental health is negatively affected by COVID increased by 21% in the first few months of the pandemic. And now, this number is at over half of our adult population.

Changes in Access to Care

We’re seeing a historic need for healing. But many behavioral health treatment centers also face closure. And most of those who are still open have had to move their programming completely online – with mixed results for the clients they serve.

Thankfully, The Sanctuary benefits from reduced COVID exposure by design. And we remain committed to providing the same, intensive level of care we always have. This means face-to-face counseling and connection with other humans: aspects of healing that are crucial now more than ever.

We’ll talk about how this is possible, why it’s so necessary, and what’s available to you.

How Does Behavioral Health Affect Your Life?

Beyond just mental health, behavioral health encompasses all aspects of living that factor into your wellness. These include:

  • Your relationship with others
  • Your relationship with substances
  • How you manage any ongoing challenges (e.g. chronic illness or other medical conditions)

Mental health, of course, doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Your daily behaviors and lifestyle choices have a huge impact on how you feel. And the changes to our world resulting from the coronavirus significantly affect how we go about our lives.

The Consequences of Social Distancing

Treatment professionals have long known that loneliness can worsen mental and physical health, and a large body of research supports this. The social isolation and added stress of the economic downturn have created new hurdles for those struggling with mental health and addiction.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report on the implications of COVID-19 for mental health and substance abuse found that:

  • People who sheltered in place experienced more COVID-related anxiety than those who didn’t
  • More than a third of US adults had anxiety or depression, compared to one-tenth of adults in 2019
  • 13% of those surveyed said they used drugs or alcohol to cope with COVID-related stress
  • 36% reported trouble sleeping and eating
  • 12% of people with chronic mental health conditions said their symptoms worsened

An Urgent Need for Behavioral Health Treatment During COVID

In what the Psychiatric Times calls a “mental health pandemic,” it’s clear that what people need is integrated care. Behavioral health professionals also recommend complementary alternative medicine (CAM) as an effective mental health treatment option when traditional avenues may not be accessible.

“Initiatives aimed at enhancing psychological resilience and treating mental health problems should incorporate conventional and CAM approaches that are effective, safe, affordable, and cost-effective. Examples include a regular mindfulness practice for depressed mood, anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD,” says psychiatrist Dr. James Lake. Lake and other researchers also recommend “exercise, nutritional advice, and select natural supplements” as useful alternatives to medication.

But treatment centers across the US are feeling the strain of recent changes. Many have limited their program offerings to virtual-only, while others have closed entirely. So what options are available to those in need of care?

What The Sanctuary Offers

Behavioral health treatment is an essential service. That’s why we’re continuing to offer our program in full, including psychotherapy, energy medicine, bodywork, and process groups – live and in-person.

In-person Individual and Group Therapy

Human connection is an important aspect of healing that cannot be underestimated. As always, our intensive program includes at least two one-on-one sessions per day in addition to group classes and activities.

Secluded by Design

Our campus is located on 22 acres of natural land, surrounded by the national forest outside of Sedona. We serve a maximum of 10 clients at any given time, and most of our therapists live onsite. In addition to reduced exposure, this also allows you to immerse yourself in nature, both on our weekly hikes and during your free time on campus. Nature is the ultimate teacher, and its calming properties are an important part of the Sanctuary experience.

Immune-boosting Protocol

Good immunity starts with your gut health. And at The Sanctuary, we pay special attention to this as a pathway to wellness. Our program includes in-depth nutritional support, via:

  • Organic, nutrient-rich foods
  • Sourcing from known local providers and our own, on-campus garden
  • Education on nutrition for recovery and wellbeing
  • A personalized supplement regimen
  • Regular consultations with a doctor of functional medicine

Admissions and Screening to Help You Feel Safe

Our hands-on admissions process means you’ll have help making any arrangements you need to feel comfortable. This includes arranging private ground transportation if you prefer not to fly.

All clients are screened for COVID-19 as part of their intake process before being officially admitted into the program. We follow up-to-date recommendations from the CDC, WHO, NAATP, and state and local public health authorities, as well as from our clinical director and medical staff.

The Time to Heal is Now

Our goal at The Sanctuary is to help you live a healthier, fuller life, and that doesn’t change in times of uncertainty. Your own mental, emotional, physical and wellness is the key to getting you through these challenging times.

The good news is, we get to decide how we want to respond to changes in the world around us. And when you experience profound healing, not only do you feel different, but the world around you reflects it back to you, too.

Contact us today to learn more.