Six months into the Covid-19 crisis, the disease itself isn't the only threat to our health and well-being. Recent statistics from the CDC show that depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are shooting up among Americans.
That's depressing but not surprising. We've all been experiencing incredible amounts of isolation and uncertainty lately. But given those conditions are likely to continue for a while, is there anything you can do to help support your own mental health, as well as the mental health of your loved ones and employees?
The experts' answer is a resounding yes. A host of assorted psychologists and researchers have taken to the TED stage to offer advice, support, and fellowship to those struggling with their mental health. Now might be a great time to watch some of those talks.
1. Sophie Andrews: The best way to help is often just to listen.
Sophie Andrews went from being a survivor of abuse to the founder of a UK helpline for lonely, isolated older people. In this talk, she shares why the simple act of listening (instead of giving advice) is often the best way to help someone in need. That's a truth a lot of concerned bosses and friends need to hear right now.
2. Wendy Suzuki: The brain-changing benefits of exercise.
Need a happiness boost? The simplest, most effective action you can take is to get off your butt and get some exercise today, explains neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki in this talk.
3. Sangu Delle: There's no shame in taking care of your mental health.
In this personal and revealing talk, entrepreneur and activist Sangu Delle tells the story of how he overcame his own issues around masculinity and mental health in order to get help for his stress and anxiety. His story will seem familiar to other hard-charging achievers out there.
4. Priya Parker: How to create meaningful connections while apart.
Specifically pitched to those struggling with virus-induced isolation, this TED-sponsored discussion with the author of The Art of Gathering offers tips to stay emotionally connected despite the need to socially distance.
5. Renée Lertzman: How to turn climate anxiety into action.
Unfortunately we don't just have the virus to be anxious about in 2020. Climate change horrors are filling our TV screens and compounding the uncertainty and stress of the times. In this talk, psychologist Renée Lertzman explained how to turn your anxiety into action.
6. Ryan Martin: Why we get mad--and why it's healthy.
Maybe you're responding to the pandemic, and the blundering official response to it, with rage? That's OK, researcher Ryan Martin explained in this talk. "Your anger exists in you because it offered your ancestors, both human and non-human, an evolutionary advantage," he said. "[It's] a powerful and healthy force in your life."
7. Guy Winch: Why we all need to practice emotional first aid.
If you feel physically lousy, you go to the doctor. So why don't more of us seek help when we feel emotionally lousy? That's the question tackled by psychologist Guy Winch in this talk that's been viewed more than 10 million times. As the official TED description said: "He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene--taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies."
8. Susan David: The gift and power of emotional courage.
Handling strong emotions productively is a skill that can be taught, and psychologist Susan David is a leading expert on how people can learn greater "emotional agility." That's an ability a lot of us could do with cultivating at the moment.
9. Shantell Martin: How drawing can set you free.
Exercise is one great way to boost your mood. What's another? As artist Shantell Martin explained in this visual TED talk, it's art (even if you're not very good at it).
10. Hailey Hardcastle: Why students should have mental health days.
If you're concerned about your kids, then this talk from teen mental health advocate Hailey Hardcastle should probably be your first watch. Per the video description: "School can be rife with stress, anxiety, panic attacks and even burnout--but there's often no formal policy for students who need to prioritize their well-being. Hailey Hardcastle explains why schools should offer mental health days."