As the owner and founder of Pinnacle Behavioral Health, Laura Hunt keeps in constant contact with the team of doctors and other clinicians who treat patients directly.

A licensed clinical social worker, Hunt says the firm has found a way to offer care every day since the pandemic began, and is in the midst of its busiest year in two decades.

“Especially now, mental health is so significant because the suicide rate has almost doubled at this point,” Hunt said. “It was high before the pandemic, and now it is even higher because of the isolation.”

While it’s their mission to attend to patients’ mental health needs, Hunt admits overseeing and growing an entire company can be personally grueling.

“It is stressful when you are open six days a week; there is no other way to say it,” she said, "especially during the first 100-year pandemic that any of us have ever experienced.”

What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Manuel Astruc has been a clinical psychiatrist for more than 20 years and says he’s seeing more stress and burnout in his patients since the pandemic began

  • Astruc also runs an executive coaching business called Your Next Act to help entrepreneurs better run their companies by managing their own stress and burnout

  • Astruc frequently posts tips for daily stress management on his social media pages

To help manage that stress, Hunt has been meeting with Dr. Manuel Astruc for the past year and a half. Astruc has been a clinical psychiatrist for more than 20 years and says he’s currently seeing more stress and burnout than ever.

“People are so exhausted. The pandemic and the shutdown is on everybody’s mind,” said Astruc, whose practice is in Saratoga Springs. “There is so much evidence that there is more depression, anxiety, drinking, suicide, and it’s been a hardship that we have not really been prepared to deal with.”

Along with his practice, Astruc runs a coaching business called Your Next Act, which is designed to help entrepreneurs like Hunt better run their companies by managing their own stress and burnout. To bring his expertise to the broader public, he also hosts a podcast and posts motivational videos on social media each morning.

“The world needs places to remind people to focus on yourself, focus on what you can do to make your life better and the life of those around you better, and it doesn’t have to be that much,” Astruc said after posting a live video on his Facebook page.

For someone like Hunt, who has a lot on their plate, Astruc recommends focusing your energy on the tasks that you excel at and get joy from, and then learning to delegate the responsibilities that cause undue stress and discomfort.

“All that stuff that for you is eating up your time, they are going to love to do that,” Astruc told Hunt, while encouraging her to share more of her daily workload with staff.

Hunt says the guidance has given her the peace of mind to keep helping others.

“If I don’t help myself and if I don’t do my own counseling and my own coaching and asking for help, I can’t help anybody else,” Hunt said.