Dr. Martin Fletcher Wants You Well
| 3 min | by Doug Marrin |
In the ever-changing landscape of a volatile year, we have arguably been pressed harder as a community than ever before. On the heels of one viral pandemic, another more insidious crisis is spreading—mental fatigue and stress. One local psychologist is working to muster the community to push back against that which would afflict them.
Dr. Martin Fletcher Psy. D, L.P. ("Dr. Marty) of Renew Hope Counseling is one of a growing number of mental health experts pursuing innovative ways to impede mental illness before it takes hold and becomes disruptive and debilitating.
"Our brains are being wired in a very stressful environment like we've not seen before," says Dr. Marty. "Each generation is getting sicker with more depression, anxiety disorders, often untreated. Suicide attempts, accidental overdoses, substance use disorders are on the rise. We're sicker than we've ever been."
Based in Dexter with an office in Plymouth, Renew Hope Counseling has recently expanded into Chelsea where he grew up and graduated. The new location is key to Dr. Marty's new initiative toward mental wellbeing. The new space has offices and a stylish lounge-type meeting room Dr. Fletcher hopes to use for group gatherings as a tool in promoting mental health as a lifestyle, like physical health.
"We're isolated and alienated from one another," says Fletcher. "There is plenty of wisdom out in the community. Besides psychologists, other people have a lot of important things to say, and that would have a very different and positive effect."
The community group dynamic is a two-way street explains Dr. Marty. "People helping people is a reciprocal dynamic. Both parties benefit. It gives people a sense that they matter, belong, and are important."
The groups would center on a common interest of the participants. One idea Dr. Fletcher is developing is a film class. He believes film is an excellent medium for human behavior to which many of us can easily relate.
"Film is a wonderful way to understand human behavior and relationships," he says. "Coming together, viewing some of our favorite movie clips, and then talking about what we think of it is a powerful and fun way to gain helpful insight into ourselves."
While the means are intended to be a fresh, entertaining, and meaningful approach to mental wellness, the end goal is to foster a lifestyle of good mental and emotional health. Dr. Marty believes the time for folks to take action has never been better because the stigma around mental illness is fading fast. He is promoting a preemptive awareness of our health sustained in our daily routine instead of waiting for a crisis to occur before addressing any deficiencies.
"We are treating more than we have before, but it's a tourniquet applied after the damage has been done," says Dr. Marty. "Mental health doesn't necessarily have to be something you lose first and then work to recover. It can be maintained and sustained, but we've never been shown how to do it."
Dr. Fletcher compares how habitual movement, exercise, and eating right promotes a healthy physical life. Intentional measures can also bolster our mental fitness and strengthen our immunity and defenses to stress and trauma.
The time to take action is upon us, stresses Dr. Marty. As trying and awful as the pandemic has been and will continue to be until it's gone, the real storm may come afterward.
"When we are constantly told that we live in an awful, threatening world with awful, threatening people, we start to get sick and isolate," he says. "Covid has already isolated us physically to a great degree, which then leads to emotional isolation. But once Covid is completely over, we don't automatically return to baseline. All the abuse that was happening—substance, physical, sexual—the financial loss many people have experienced, all the fallout from these problems will be with us a long time."
Dr. Fletcher is covering as much area as he can. He is featured each Monday morning on 102.9 FM W4 Country's "Monday Morning Jumpstart," which airs at 7:40 a.m. He chats about such subjects as "Toxic Positivity" and "Top Five Ways to Become Mentally & Physically Stronger for the Winter." Dr. Marty is also one-half of the Shepherd and the Shrink podcast, which he co-hosts with Dr. Matt Hook combining psychology with spirituality.
More information on these broadcasts and Renew Hope Counseling programs and services can be found at DrMartinFletcher.com.