At the end of January 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Since then, many of us have been experiencing a wide range of difficult thoughts and feelings as information about the severity of the global pandemic has unfolded.
While public health emergencies are not a new phenomenon, given that already this century the world has been dealt with SARS, Swine Flu, and Ebola, the response to COVID-19 has been unlike anything we’ve seen before. Never in recent history has there been such strict and drastic guidelines implemented to maintain public health and prevent further contamination. Despite these measures, the virus has continued to spread. As of June 30th, 2020, the total number of recorded cases had reached almost 10.5 million, with a reported number of deaths at just over 500,000.
Given the unprecedented nature of the situation and the lifestyle changes we have all had to face, there has been a natural spike in levels of fear and anxiety among the global population. As new information is released on a daily basis, it is only to be expected that people will deal with feelings of helplessness, confusion, panic, worry, fear, and anxiety. The severity of the disease and the frightening numbers of recorded cases are leading many of us to be hyper-vigilant about our health, not just for our own safety but for the safety of those we love who are more vulnerable to illness.
Other than the risks posed to our physical health, there has been shock and grief at the loss of people, jobs, and daily outlets that keep us motivated and occupied in our everyday lives. Stay-at-home measures may be increasingly challenging for those living under a roof of difficult family dynamics, or for those who live alone, in need of company to combat the difficult feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Risks to Global Mental Health
We know from past global outbreaks that ‘people who are suffering from pandemic-related anxiety tend to exhibit elevated levels of post-traumatic stress, general stress, anxiety, health anxiety, and suicidality.
The scope of the population with the potential to be affected by feelings of fear and anxiety is broad. While this situation presents a serious crisis for those already struggling with mental and behavioural health conditions and disorders, let’s not forget the risk of stress, burnout, and anxiety that faces those who are working as carers, professionally or otherwise. Social distancing measures make it all the more difficult for carers and front-line workers to provide the type of help that is often required for the soothing of mental turmoil and emotional turbulence – proximity, closeness, and togetherness.
A Pandemic of Fear and Anxiety, and the Launch of Ishmail & Associates
Feelings of fear and anxiety are as prevalent as the virus itself. In response to both the public physical health emergency and the subsequent public mental health emergency, CEO Michael Ishmail decided to launch Ishmail & Associates, a new treatment service that offers care and support for a wide range of mental and behavioural health conditions and disorders, including anxiety and related issues like Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Treatment and comprehensive support are also available for those struggling with depression, stress, burnout, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. Substance use disorder addressed and treated at Ishmail & Associates cover heroin, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and prescription drugs.
Safe Treatment Approaches at Ishmail & Associates
‘Fear and anxiety take a serious toll on our overall emotional, psychological, and behavioural wellbeing’, explains CEO and founder Michael Ishmail. Michael and his associates, a team made up of highly skilled professional therapists, counsellors, mental health nurses, medical and psychiatric doctors, recovery coaches, and live-in companions, have been working diligently to create a safe and structured approach to treatment that utilises a collaborative effort involving all aspects of the team’s skill set in combination with the unique needs of each individual to figure out and apply to most suitable treatment on a case by case basis.
Michael explains: ‘We don’t generalise at Ishmail & Associates. The entire team and I understand that the challenges faced by people and their loved one are uniquely their own and call for a compassionate treatment approach that focuses on the individual, their whole person, and their perspective on how things are.’
In-Home Mental Healthcare
Taking an innovative approach to treatment, Ishmail & Associates are offering their therapeutic services, which include CBT, DBT, EMDR therapy, Mindfulness, Family Therapy, Couples Therapy, and Relapse Prevention Therapy, not only at their treatment facility in Mayfair, Central London, but also as part of their in-home mental healthcare package. In-home mental healthcare can be provided after an initial assessment to determine where your treatment would be most suitable for your needs – in a treatment facility or at home.
Case Management and Interventions
Comprehensive case management, psychological interventions, and substance and behavioural interventions are also part of the wide range of services offered by Ishmail & Associates. The prevalence of addiction is rising, now more than in recent history due to the significant spike in restlessness and uncertainty, mitigated by feelings of fear and anxiety – major triggers for the development of conditions and disorders, substance use, and relapse.
The team at Ishmail & Associates are highly skilled and informed across all aspects of treatment, intervention, and case management, lifting the weight of responsibilities off individuals and their families, and allowing them more time to focus on healing.
Your Source of Trust and Support
One of the most potent antidotes to fear and anxiety is reliable trust and support. Michael Ishmail and the entire team at Ishmail & Associates would like to establish that they will stand tall as trusted allies for anyone who is struggling with mental and behavioural health issues as we move forward through this uncertainty.
 Who.int. 2020. A Joint Statement On Tourism And COVID-19 – UNWTO And WHO Call For Responsibility And Coordination. [online] Available at: <https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-02-2020-a-joint-statement-on-tourism-and-covid-19—unwto-and-who-call-for-responsibility-and-coordination#:~:text=On%2030%20January%202020%2C,set%20of%20Temporary%20Recommendations.> [Accessed 30 June 2020].
 Worldometers.info. 2020. Coronavirus Update (Live): 10,435,321 Cases And 508,844 Deaths From COVID-19 Virus Pandemic – Worldometer. [online] Available at: <https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/> [Accessed 30 June 2020].
 Lee SA, Mathis AA, Jobe MC, Pappalardo EA. Clinically significant fear and anxiety of COVID-19: A psychometric examination of the Coronavirus Anxiety Scale. Psychiatry Research. 2020 May;290:113112. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113112.