COVID-19’s impact on mental health is being felt across Naperville. With corona virus numbers again on the rise and Illinois moving back to Tier 3 mitigations, people are feeling increasingly sad, irritable, and angry.
The chronic state of uncertainty over the future coupled with public health actions, such as social distancing and stay-at-home orders, have created a loss of everyday routines, which can make people feel isolated and lonely.
From children to seniors, no one has been immune from some level of fear and anxiety brought on by COVID-19. People are struggling to get a good night’s sleep. We’re seeing increased use of alcohol or drugs and upticks in the levels of domestic violence, number of suicides as well as online searches for ‘filing for divorce’.
Three local community leaders who have witnessed, firsthand, the impact of COVID-19 on our collective mental health provide their perspective on the following questions:
- How are our youngest and oldest residents dealing with the pandemic?
- With the cumulative impact of stress, grief, and anxiety, are we in a mental health pandemic?
- If people are feeling overwhelmed or isolated, what are some of the things they can do to support themselves or their friends and family members?
- As more people are experiencing anxiety and depression, will that help the community overcome the stigma of mental health?
- The emotional impact of an emergency not only depends on the person’s characteristics and experience, but also their social and economic circumstances and the availability of local resources. Are there gaps in our community that the pandemic has accentuated?
- How can the community step up to help both local social service organizations and the people they serve?
While each of our guests brought their own perspective to the conversation, here are some of the key takeaways:
- There is no health without mental health.
- It’s okay not to be okay.
- Embrace the healing effect of talking.
- Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to the small things.
- Stay connected as social relationships are a key protective factor for positive mental health.
- Trauma that is unresolved often leads to mental health issues, but when positively processed, can also build resiliency.
- Hope is a discipline.
To all our viewers: please stay safe and remember while we’re all experiencing this pandemic differently, we’re all in this together.
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