“Thank goodness you found me. I need to talk to you! What happened to everyone? I’ve been so frightened, and my sister, she just tells me to calm down.” These were the first words spoken by Mrs. Jones* to her Access Institute therapist during their initial remote session in March of 2020. Mrs. Jones is 85 and lives in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point.
By Bart Magee, Ph.D.
“I’m so upset. They just announced it. We are going to be 100% remote. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m at the end of my rope with this.” This came from a patient as he sat down for his therapy in my office the other day. It’s a sentiment I hearing all around, from friends, family, and colleagues. After a year of coping with isolation, feeling tied to their monitors, missing spontaneous interactions, having trouble shutting work off, and struggling to just get out of the house, many workers are feeling at the end of their ropes.
“You who are in the field of psychology have given us a great word. It is the word maladjusted. This word is probably used more than any other word in psychology…the word implies you are declaring that destructive maladjustment should be destroyed. You are saying that all must seek the well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities.
But on the other hand, I am sure that we will recognize that there are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we should never be adjusted…We must never adjust ourselves to racial discrimination and racial segregation. We must never adjust ourselves to religious bigotry. We must never adjust ourselves to economic conditions that take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. We must never adjust ourselves to the madness of militarism, and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Invited Distinguished Address to the American Psychological Association, September 1 1967
Written by Bart Magee, Ph.D.
With our collective mental health already under tremendous strain after enduring nine months of restrictions, isolation, and fears of infection, we enter a holiday season and winter amid rising cases and renewed shutdown orders. Attending to mental health is more important than ever.
The following are my five tips for holiday and winter mental health first aid. I hope it helps you navigate a challenging holiday season.
Written by Bart Magee, Ph.D.
I heard recently from Hunter Dreidame, a friend and Access Institute supporter. He told me this:
"Throughout my adult life, I've been afraid to seek out therapy, not because of any stigma around it, but because of its cost: it is very expensive and, short of a mental breakdown, I couldn't justify the hundreds or thousands of dollars it costs to regularly see a mental health professional. I'm finally making enough where I feel comfortable paying the money necessary to see a therapist, and I’m now blessed to have generous coverage. Thanks to this benefit, I've been speaking with a therapist regularly. It has been an incredibly eye-opening and fulfilling experience, and I intend to continue this self-exploration and personal unpacking for as long as I'm able.”