Mind Matters — Hope in Covid Time

Americans across the political spectrum may be more in tune with each other than they realize. Even though measures taken to handle the spread of the corona virus have been politicized, a recent survey conducted by the Harris Poll for the American Psychological Association shows that there is consensus among Republicans and Democrats about prevention measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Mask wearing and social distancing were important precautions to a majority of both Republicans and Democrats. Both also found it stressful to be in the proximity of people who did not follow these protocols.

Executive Director, D. Arthur C. Evans, Jr., issued a response to the survey:

“As our nation continues to grapple with so much adversity, it is reassuring to see that we stand united on important issues that will help our nation heal. … The corona virus doesn’t recognize political boundaries so our country will be best served if we come together in a bipartisan effort in this historic fight to overcome the pandemic—a common enemy.”

With the pandemic, more Americans are reporting a rise in specific negative feelings such as frustration, fear, and anger.

Another stressor addressed in the survey was people’s response to racial injustice and civil unrest. “Sixty per cent of Americans say police violence towards minorities is a significant source of stress. … Moreover, nearly … 64% of Americans report the government response to the protests following the death of George Floyd as a significant source of stress.”

The hopeful note here is that 63% of adults concur that “the current movement against systemic racism and police brutality is going to lead to meaningful change in America.”

To keep hope alive, we all need to take care of our own mental health as well as the mental health of the loved ones in our care. Be mindful of signs of anxiety and depression in ourselves and those close to us. Remember, too, that children are emotional barometers. If parents or caregivers are overwhelmed and stressed, children will be reflecting that in their own emotions and behaviors.

Alcoholics Anonymous uses the acronym HALT—hungry, angry, lonely, tired—to heed the signs of getting overwhelmed or “falling apart.” I add two S’s—sick and stressed. Remember SHALTS to help stop and re-center, re-collect yourself when you have that feeling of falling apart!

There is hope when we face this crisis together.

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