*Deep breaths.* Wherever you are, whoever you are, chances are you may be feeling heightened anxiety, stress, or depression, or maybe you’re struggling with feeling burnt out or isolated, navigating uncertainty, overwhelmed by the news…the list goes on. Research shows that at least 53% of adults in the U.S. reported negative impacts on their mental health caused by the pandemic. And that’s likely just scratching the surface on the real mental health crisis we’re living in.

The bottom line? No matter what you’re feeling, know that you’re not alone. At Maven, mental health is core to our mission to empower women and families to take care and take on the world. In Maven’s virtual clinic, we saw a 300% increase in telehealth appointments with specialized behavioral and mental health providers in the first few months of the pandemic. And this has remained elevated since. This means more individuals are turning to licensed professionals ranging from social workers to therapists to counselors on Maven who specialize in key areas like parenting and children’s behavioral health, postpartum depression, coping with grief from miscarriage or loss, or just the everyday stress of managing work and family.

For World Mental Health Day, marked by the World Health Organization on October 10th, we reached out to a few Maven Providers—all of whom are available for appointments in our virtual clinic for therapy sessions and emotional and mental health support—to gather their messages and tips based on what they have been hearing from Maven members.

This World Mental Health Day, take a pause, soak these words in, and share them.

Meaghan Sherman, M.Ed., LMHC, helps our members manage their mental health during pregnancy and postpartum:

"I like to encourage clients during times of increased stress to be mindful of what you are consuming. Reflect on what you are eating, drinking, watching, listening to, people you are surrounding yourself with. It's important to control what we can in times of stress and increased anxiety. Focus on increasing positive talk and influences in your day and removing the negative. Let yourself set those healthy boundaries."

Cynthia Coffelt, LCSW, MPH, is all about helping members achieve emotional well-being, and specializes in helping those dealing with trauma and grief:

"It's important to discern those things we can and cannot control. Focus time and energy on aspects of your life you can manage—such as self-care, physical activity, journaling, or reaching out to loved ones. Be mindful of the present moment and try not to ‘thought spiral’ too far ahead into the future. It will only heighten anxiety and fear. Be kind to yourself in acknowledging this time as a collective experience and know you are not alone."

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Dr. Wendy Boring-Bray provides emotional support to members at any stage of a path to parenthood:

"This has been a difficult year for so many. During times of uncertainty, there is a pause, and much like the comma in a sentence that lets us know to take a breath before moving on to the next part of the sentence, difficult times cause us to stop and take a breath before moving forward. What do you need when you are in a pause in life?"

Bette Galen, MSW, LCSW, specializes in reproductive mental health, caring for members who are considering or going through fertility treatments:

“We are all acutely aware that we are living in uncertain times. Each of us has had to figure out how to cope with the changes to our families, our country, the world; and our regular coping strategies are not working because many of them include their ability to distract. Without distraction, room has opened up to allow deep hurts, old wounds, and past trauma to rise to the surface. This might be one of those silver lining opportunities. A chance to get in touch with parts of us that have been pushed aside when we were just living  life. What parts are showing up now? Are you feeling childhood wounds more acutely? Take this moment to get to know your inner system, to meet the parts of your personality that take care of you - with compassion, curiosity, and no judgements. Extend loving kindness to these parts, a willingness to get to know them, and a curiosity about why they do what they do. You might be surprised at what you learn.”

Mercedes Samudio, LCSW, supports families and individuals navigating their mental health and as a parenting coach:

“When you get up in the morning, everyday, check in with yourself to figure out where you’re at today. Be honest with yourself about how you feel, and give yourself permission to take breaks.”

Sara Daly-Padron is a Maven Career Coach who helps members and clients navigate and plan for parenthood, career growth or changes, management practices, and so much more:

“When getting overwhelmed with life/work, think about what is going on that is contributing to the feelings. Then verbalize—actually say out loud—the emotion(s) you are feeling as a result. Tell a friend, tell a loved one or just tell yourself out loud, as you’re experiencing it, in order to get some distance from it. Sometimes called "Name it to tame it", neuroscience research tells us that labeling an emotion can actually decrease activity in the brain's emotional centers and engage the reasoning and thinking center of the brain. This pause can help us to see our emotions and not react. It's one way to help slow down and gives a chance to choose how to proceed. It's one small step you can take to help stop the spiral of overwhelm!”

“Focus on increasing positive talk and influences in your day and removing the negative. Let yourself set those healthy boundaries.”

Want more? Check out additional tips for managing your mental health here.

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