CDC report shows 40 percent of adults struggle with mental health, substance abuse issues

The Centers for Disease Control released a report last week showing that 40 percent of adults struggled with mental health or substance abuse issues. One in four young people under 25 struggled with suicidal thoughts. Meanwhile, caregivers and essential workers also reported high rates of suicidal thoughts. According to a Kaiser Foundation Family poll, the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertain economic environment, nearly half (45 percent) of adults in the U.S. say that their mental health has been “negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus.”

As the pandemic continues to cause havoc around the world, the study also points that sheltering in place and social isolation also is increasingly putting more people (47 percent) “at risk for depression or suicidal thoughts.”

Montrella Cowan, a licensed therapist, relationship expert, independent clinical social worker and speaker has been helping individuals and couples for more than 20 years. She is also the author of a new book, “The Purse – An Essential Guide to Healthy Relationships,” that offers timely advice and strategies on how to avoid unhealthy relationships – and particularly how to avoid self-doubt and depression.

As we continue to shelter in place, strains on family and couple relationships are rampant. Hre’s some advice from Cowan.

  • Never lose your identity: It’s easy during this period to become too co-dependent on others. Make sure you have a support network, but don’t become co-dependent on others to help you define what happiness means to you.
  • Seek help beyond your closest friends: It’s really OK not to be OK. We’re experiencing something that most have never had to endure. There’s stress and anxiety. Seek out professional help.
  • Acknowledge your past trauma: It’s OK to embrace what’s happened in the past so that you can live a more fulfilling life now and in the future.

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate: Continuously talk to your spouse or partner so you know how you’re feeling all the time.

“Trauma can be such an encompassing and devastating event that it can linger for generation after generation,” Cowan said. “Unless, of course, we learn to heal from it. Learn to unshackle the ghost of those chains that were unlocked so long ago but still weigh so many of us down. Everyone has the ability to let go of the dysfunctionality that exists in their lives, to undo the patterns that shaped every toxic relationship they found themselves in. Healing can take a lot of different forms and the path to a healthy and fulfilling relationship can be long and winding. Just remember that there are tools that you can use to turn it all around.”


About Montrella Cowan

                  Montrella Cowan is the founder of Affinity Health Affairs, LLC. She is a holistic talk therapist and relationship coach, trusted for her high-quality service, knowledge, personal care and passion to help people have healthy relationships and families. In addition to her private practice, Cowan’s niche of a “practical approach” has helped her to become a widely sought-after motivational speaker and trainer on national and international platforms. Cowan is also a specialist in Employee Assistance and WorkLife Programs for the federal government, nonprofit and private sectors. She currently serves as an employee assistance professional for Federal Occupational Health at the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Cowan earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and social work from Catholic University and a master’s degree of social work from Howard University.