“In the best of times, there is untreated mental illness. Even a small increase in the rates of people with new or worsening mental illness is going to be a problem. (And with the pandemic) it has been the entire country (facing new stressors)". Susan Borja, chief of the National Institute of Mental Health's Dimensional Traumatic Stress Research Program
As we all struggle to stay afloat in the nasty wake of the pandemic, many experts anticipate a long-term impact on people's mental well-being. After all, we can only compartmentalize all that has been thrown at us - personally, at work and through the media - for so long until the emotional dam breaks.
"At what point do we get to breathe? And when you breathe, that’s when grief and processing can start to enter your mind." Theresa Nguyen, chief program officer at Mental Health America
For those lucky enough to keep a job, "work at home" has resulted in longer work days and a blurred line between home and work life. For those who have lost their jobs, there is the economic and emotional stressors of paying the rent, mortgage and utilities with no safety net save for economic stimulus checks.
And then there are the real-life victims of Covid-19 - 580,000 and counting in the U.S. alone - and the family and friends who could not be there at the hospice deathbed or even at the funeral.
If you've been vaccinated and think your are over the hump - whoa Nelly. There is still a long-tail of post-pandemic effects and psychological fallout coming our way. Suicide. Substance abuse. Domestic violence. Economic ruin.
Different ethnic and socio-economic parts of the population are impacted differently. For more on this topic, read this article on statnews.com. (Note: quotes pulled from this article also appear above - well worth reading!)
In the interim, if you have access to mental health benefits from workplace employee assistance programs (EAPs), use them or contact your HR representative to point you in the right direction. There is a deep chasm between the demand and supply for mental health care assistance. Short-term, telehealth services (e.g., online therapy) may provide a temporary bridge but much more help is needed for those most impacted in underserved communities. Self care is another path: Sleep, social interaction and exercise substantially impact all facets of mental function.
I am not a doctor - so take this with a grain of salt - but outside of normal work benefits, you may consider energy healing, reiki, yoga or meditation. Reiki helped me during a divorce and early pandemic transition. As you transition to a maskless world, but crave human connection and emotional support, consider joining a "social bubble" as covered in this article.
Last but not least, if listening to information soothes the mind, you might also consider checking out these episodes for further inspiration:
- Afraid of All this Negative Energy
- Afraid of The Shaman Returns
- Afraid of 2020 and My Akashic Reading
- Afraid of Akashic, Energy and Suicide
It's been a long, hard ride and there is still a long row to hoe - but there are things we can do to help. In the months ahead as the world hopefully re-opens and returns to quasi-normal, may you find your personal path to self improvement and happiness. Be safe, be well and be kind.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (Español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.