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Mental Health Check-in: How’s Everyone Holding Up?

It’s hard to believe it’s been six months since the Journal of Accountancy cover story about one CPA’s struggle with depression. Not because I can’t believe a whole six months have passed (although that’s a thing for sure) but rather because no one could have known how timely that story would be when JofA published it in the February edition.

When the world — er, our world over here in the good ole U.S.A. anyway — abruptly went to shit in March, it seemed like a switch had been turned on in millions of people who otherwise couldn’t relate to mental health struggles before. Suddenly it was OK to say “I’m losing it” and everyone from your neighbor to your mailman could relate. Perhaps, I thought at the time, this would be an opportunity to open up the discourse about mental well-being and turn something that used to be the shameful secret of families into nothing more than a medical issue in the same category as, say, a hangnail. Or maybe a broken toe. Whatever, you get the point.

In November 2019, Deloitte surveyed more than 27.5K millennials and Gen Zs for its Global Millennial Survey 2020, nearly half of them reported feeling stressed all or most of the time, citing family welfare, long-term finances, and job prospects as primary causes, and this was before the Rona even happened. Interestingly, when researchers followed up with respondents in May of this year, stress levels in both groups had fallen by about eight percentage points. So maybe this staying home thing hasn’t been that stressful for everyone after all.

“It’s easy to see why the global conversation on mental health is picking up pace and becoming more prominent around boardroom tables,” said Michele Parmelee, chief people and purpose officer, Deloitte Global. “Considering that stress has a direct, negative impact on work productivity, employers need to understand and embrace their role in helping alleviate stress and reducing the drivers of poor mental health at work.”

You hear that, guys? They care.

I don’t think we’ve made much progress as far as the discourse is concerned but I do think this is an important conversation to have at least every now and then. Cue the cheesy “we’re all in this together” montage.

Just in case anyone needs it, gonna drop the World Health Organization’s advice on what to do if you’re struggling from the JofA piece. It’s not perfect, but it’s something.

  • Talk to someone you trust about your feelings. Most people feel better after talking to someone who cares about them.
  • Seek professional help. Your local health care worker or doctor is a good place to start.
  • Remember that with the right help, you can get better.
  • Keep up with activities that you used to enjoy when you were well.
  • Stay connected. Keep in contact with family and friends.
  • Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a short walk.
  • Stick to regular eating and sleeping habits.
  • Accept that you might have depression and adjust your expectations. You may not be able to accomplish as much as you do usually.
  • Avoid or restrict alcohol intake and refrain from using illicit drugs; they can worsen depression.
  • If you feel suicidal, contact someone for help immediately.

It’s going to sound corny but if anyone ever needs to talk, our inbox is open. And if you prefer instead to drown your sorrows in alcohol and illicit drugs, well, I don’t think anyone is gonna judge. Do what you gotta do.