In the midst of a pandemic and a county/state/national emergency it is easy to sometimes feel overwhelmed. This crisis we face is not like any in recent memory in that it not only has a grave physical threat, but it poses a severe economic challenge for many. That does not even take into account the human toll on relationships, mental health and long-term effects on our social well-being. Undeniably we are a community in crisis.
I will not offer any cute sayings or inspirational quotes, but I will say in times of crisis we often meet our greatest challenges.
In the immediate we need to address the public health emergency by making sure everyone understands the need for our community to follow the guidelines coming from our governmental agencies, public health and local officials. Nobody is looking to take your personal freedoms away and we all understand the hardships that the policies in place have on many…But in order to meet the immediate physical threat and to decrease the loss of life and impact on our healthcare system, they are needed.
Please help us by educating one another on why we all need to engage in social distancing. Stay away from large crowds and stand 6 feet away from one another. It is hard to do and it is an absolute change from our normal social patterns, but in order to protect ourselves and others we must stop engaging one another without thought or care for one another’s safety and well-being.
It is also very heart-wrenching to see the economic toll that is hitting our friends, family and neighbors. It is traumatic to go from a robust economy to a grinding halt. Our local service industry, retail, food service and others are being laid off in mass numbers and some closing their doors. Many small business owners and even large corporations are fearing what the next days, weeks and months have in store.
There is no doubt that this COVID-19 emergency will leave a trail of destruction on our local economy. We must remember these community members and support them and we must do all we can to start addressing this immediately. We (I) see the local effects and the hardship and because we are all connected in this community I know that we will work together to help one another.
One final area that should concern us is the social and mental health aspect. We are fundamentally social people and social distancing goes against our instincts, but we must, we must begin to accomplish this or we risk prolonging the physical, economic and mental agony of this crisis.
I worry about the mental health of our community. The displaced workers, the anxiety, the worry, the stress, the social disconnect and the possible rise of trauma and secondary trauma is going to be a challenge for months ahead.
By reading this you might think I was disillusioned. And although there is a lot of fear, anxiety and disorder right now, there is also a lot of good coming out of the bad.
There are examples of people helping people like our faith community coming together to serve those in need. Heroes like our health care workers and public health professionals working day and night to protect us. Individuals already working on economic initiatives to try and help those who are being displaced and great people in our mental health community who know the realities we face as we begin to put the pieces back together.
I would urge us as a community to take this emergency seriously.
Protect yourself and your family and look out for one another. And practice a little patience for one another and those who are trying to do the right thing. It is a cliche, but we will get through this and we will change and we will learn, but we will also have to heal and that will be a process…One that I am convinced we will meet.
Questions about the coronavirus? Call the local County call center at 704-862-5303
Need Small Business emergency assistance or loans? Apply on-line at Disasterloan.sba.gov
For assistance with a mental health crisis call Partners help line at 1-888-235-HOPE