At Rogosin, we believe that mental health is an essential component of overall health. We know that the challenges of kidney disease can lead to anxiety and depression for patients, and we are committed to treating the whole person, not just their illness. To best serve our patients, we have established one of the first national programs to provide mental health and emotional support for patients. Funded by a generous grant from Joseph Taylor and Hilary Budny, and led by Dr. Daniel Cukor, a psychologist specializing in mental health and nephrology, the program is designed to serve as a model for treatment, research, education, and policy advocacy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Cukor is offering online guidance, support groups, and resources to help our patients, their loved ones, and Rogosin staff. “We have all been through difficult times, but never anything like this,” says Dr. Cukor. “Rather than being able to act, most people are being asked to stay home and wait for the pandemic to pass, which can be very anxiety provoking. At the same time, many of our staff and patients must overcome the fear of leaving their homes to continue life-saving treatment.” During this unprecedented time, Dr. Cukor stresses the importance of developing a plan to maintain our own mental health. Although the specifics may be different for each of us, Dr. Cukor suggests several overarching strategies that include:
- Limit time spent talking about and viewing content about COVID-19.
- Maintain a regular healthy routine for sleeping, eating, and exercising.
- Stay socially connected. Be willing to try new ways of reaching out to loved ones and friends.
- Create space for your own mental health. For example, try meditating, an old hobby, a new activity, or reading.
Dr. Cukor also offers specific strategies for coping with negative feelings and anxiety. “Try to take one day at time,” says Dr Cukor. “Looking too far ahead can be overwhelming and counterproductive now. It is also important to remember that this is temporary and will get better. Choose hope.” For more detailed information, including times for virtual groups, go to our website.
MEDITATION AND YOGA RESOURCES TO HELP RELIVE STRESS
As Dr. Cukor suggests, this is the ideal time to explore the benefits of meditation and yoga. Visit us at https://rogosininstitute.org/psychpatients/ to access free online yoga and meditation classes provided by the NewYork-Presbyterian Integrative Health and Wellbeing Program in affiliation with Weill Cornell Medicine. There is an array of free videos and audio tapes to help you get started or to strengthen your current practice.