By Petra Alexander
The pandemic of the coronavirus has brought forth another crisis. We have already experienced the economic crisis, the enormous consequences of unemployment with the freezing of various economic, cultural and commercial activities. However, a crisis in Mental Health is the next red flag that is flying in several environments. According to the World Health Organization, there are three factors: isolation, poverty, and the management of anxiety/depression. The combination of these factors has provoked insomnia, depression, nervousness, domestic violence, addictions, sexual abuse and more than anything suicide. Kaiser Permanente reported that since April their help hotlines have been ringing off the hook.
We have seen that quarantine is faced in a different way when a person retains their job, and enjoys a degree of economic self sufficiency, and when a person is healthy...However, even with these benefits, the virus has generated a state of anxiety over the possibility of contracting the virus, a feeling of fragility at knowing that acquaintances, friends or family members have become sick or even died. In the case of people who were already facing other crises, whose emotional states or human relationships were already under stress, the pandemic has added insult to injury. Added to this is the reality that many have little information about mental illnesses, and may be in denial thinking “I don’t need help, this is for somebody else” the fear of the stigma creates another barrier in being able to move forward.
When a person is recovering from a fracture or an accident, specialists give a certain amount of time for the arm or the affected members to heal. They tell the patient with certainty: you have six months to do physical therapy so that your movement and skills can return to normal. In terms of mental health, experiencing depression or anxiety and not attending to it, does not mean the discomfort will pass or heal on its own. Instead the illness advances to a degree of greater complexity. Therefore, a person can remain stuck in states of anxiety, depression or permanent neurosis. People who have the blessing of medical insurance should take advantage of it, and those who do not, should know that our two counties have resources. Remember it is the person who is ill who needs to call and ask for help, in the case of minors, it is their parents or guardians.
Let’s all help in the recovery from this crisis, it is likely that we have a difficult time ahead because economies take time to recover. Let us be vigilant of our own self balance and that of our families and friends. If we are doing better than others, it is time to recall the words of Saint Paul “We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves” (Rm 15:1). While we find adequate help, we should keep up our faith life, participate virtually in parish groups, small groups or support groups. In this difficult time, it is important to make the call to those we know are having a difficult time, showing sincere interest, increasing our prayer and especially, sharing what we know for certain that “God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work” (2a Corinthias 9:8). At this time, breaking the silence and asking for what we need becomes a powerful tool.