Fredericksburg, VA. 10/20/2020 — Amid a jarring presidential election and an overall difficult year, US adults in counseling are feeling stressed, fearful, depressed, and/or hopeless about the election. This, according to a survey conducted by Thriveworks Counseling and completed by 275 mental health professionals.
Are your clients talking about election-related stress?
Do your clients discuss being fearful of the outcome?
Based on survey results, the most prevalent mental health issues resulting from the election are stress and fear: Approximately 81% of participants said that their clients are currently talking about election-related stress, while nearly 78% said that their clients report feeling fearful of the outcome.
Are your clients reporting symptoms of election-related depression?
Have your clients reported feeling hopeless due to the election?
In addition, participants reported that their clients are feeling depressed and hopeless: Nearly 66% said their clients have reported symptoms of depression related to the election and 56% said their clients have reported feeling hopeless about it.
This survey suggests that US adults who are receiving counseling are experiencing a wide range of mental health issues directly related to the presidential election. Fortunately, the mental health professionals who participated in this survey report feeling prepared to address these issues with their clients.
“As therapists and contemporary healers, we are in a perfect position to address clients’ confusion and worry,” says one anonymous participant. “Life is very different now, compared to the past. We can help clients navigate a conflicted and uncertain world and find where they belong. When they are at their best, they can better cope and accommodate to the problems and challenges in current society.”
Counselors can provide their clients with personalized help for addressing and managing the difficult feelings they might be experiencing related to the election. “I try to normalize the anxiety and stress of the upcoming election, along with reminding folks to focus on what they can control,” says another anonymous survey participant. “This helps the issues seem less overwhelming.”
Outside of working with a counselor, people can address and manage difficult emotions using the following quick tips, offered by Emily Simonian, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Thriveworks Counseling in Washington, DC:
- Find the right balance. Simonian says it’s important to assess your news viewing habits and make a change if you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed. “One of the best mental health tools for coping with election season stress is to find a balance between gathering the information that’s necessary to make informed voting choices while also recognizing when taking in information starts causing stress,” she explains.
- Set boundaries and intentions. Building off of the previous tip, set boundaries and intentions for checking up on the latest news. “If exposure to the news results in emotional overwhelm, setting a time limit for yourself to obtain pertinent daily or weekly news can be beneficial,” Simonian explains. “It might also be helpful to consider that there are many news outlets—TV, print, Internet—and gathering information from just one, perhaps the platform that you find the lease overwhelming, could have a positive effect on your mental health.”
- Focus on what’s in your control. Finally, reel it back in. “Remember that you cannot control others’ words or actions, but you can control your reaction,” says Simonian. “You don’t have to attend every discussion, debate, or argument that you’re invited to.” Keep your wellbeing at the forefront and adjust accordingly.
An overwhelming year capped off by the election is taking a toll on Americans, which is punctuated by Thriveworks Counseling’s survey results. Fortunately, using a combination of counseling and self-care, people can learn to manage these tough emotions and withstand another election year.
Thriveworks Counseling, a counseling practice with 140+ offices across the country, is focused on helping people live happy, successful lives. It tackles this mission by connecting clients with skilled, caring mental health professionals who can offer stress management counseling, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, and more.