Mental Health Awareness Month - A Conversation with Dr. Rachel

May 12, 2020 3 min read 1 Comment

Mental Health Awareness Month - A Conversation with Dr. Rachel

Mental health awareness has always been a K-Deer core value.  We’re dedicated to starting the conversation, ending the stigma and spotlighting resources whenever we can.  Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we’re all collectively experiencing unprecedented anxieties and fears, we sought input from a mental health professional.  We hope you find Dr. Rachel’s insights valuable and comforting.  We’re all in this together! 

Rachel Goldman, Ph.D., FTOS is a licensed psychologist specializing in health and wellness, including health behavior change, weight management, eating behaviors, and stress reduction. Dr. Rachel is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine and has a private practice in NYC. She does corporate wellness and presents at Fortune 500 companies, including Nielsen Media and Morgan Stanley. She is a sought after expert who has been featured in media, including Sirius XM Doctor Radio, The New York Times, TIME, NBC News, CNN, USA Today, SHAPE and Women's Health. Keep up with her on IG @drrachelnyc.

The past few months have been nothing short of overwhelming for everyone. With so much uncertainty and our daily lives completely upended, it’s hard to know where to start with checking in on our own mental health. In the interest of keeping it simple, what are your top 3 action items for starting on the mental health journey? 

The first thing I would suggest is to be honest with yourself. Take a moment and just ask yourself how you are feeling? Maybe you can do a quick body scan and see if your body is holding any tension. The mind-body connection is real and our body tends to give us signals. For instance, does your jaw feel tight, do you have a headache, or are you holding your hands in fists? 
The next thing I would do is look at your daily activities, or daily routine. How is your sleep and your appetite? Those are two good places to start. Most people when they are experiencing stress, or going through a major life change (which we all are right now) have disrupted sleep and/or a disruption in their appetite (which could be increased or decreased). 
The last thing is to think about one small thing you can change today. Maybe it’s simply to make sure you are eating regularly throughout the day and not skipping meals, or to call a friend or family member.  

Many of us are spending more time on social media and there are so many conflicting messages on how we “should” be coping or feeling. What is your response to the attitude of “doing the most”? 

 There are so many conflicting messages out there right now and it can be hard to not compare yourself and think what you “should” be doing, but no one is experiencing exactly what you are experiencing. We are all unique individuals and although we are all impacted by Covid-19, we are all experiencing it differently. I tell my clients to ignore those messages and focus on you and what you need—just do you! This may not be the time to learn a new language or pick up on a new skill. This is the time to slow down, be more present, and for some - this is the time to simply survive.  

Some of us may be finding ourselves slipping into old dangerous behaviors – binge eating, restrictive eating, drinking alcohol more often, etc. Can you provide some trusted resources to turn to for help? 

 This is very common. Under stress, many people do revert back to old habits or behaviors. If you are aware that you are doing this, ask yourself what worked for you in the past and try to implement those same things. Sometimes we need some additional support though, and that is okay. If you do, this is the time to seek it. Many therapists are offering virtual therapy. A great place to start could be going to where you can “find a therapist.” Also, there are many free resources available right now. If you are feeling anxious or struggling, you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741 and you will be contacted to a counselor for free. You can also contact the Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. For specific concerns regarding disordered eating, you can call the NEDA helpline by calling 800-931-2237. If you are feeling like you are in danger of harming yourself, call that National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

1 Response

Michael Righi
Michael Righi

May 13, 2020

Just returned from Trekking in Ecuador to raise awareness for Mental Health.

5 – characteristics of a healthy mental system include Being active, Be present, Connecting with others, Continuous learning, and Be a giver.

My giving is often K-deer leggings! :)

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