It seems that within the blink of an eye our entire world has changed. The way of life we once knew has been challenged. We are hoarding things we once thought of as disposable. We are filled with fear; fear for our own health, our economy, our future, and even of each other. It seems to be as if our values have been altered.
As a community we have worked so hard to spread love and kindness to all those around us, but now we are afraid to touch, hug, and reach out to those hurting. We have been forced to isolate ourselves from others in fear of getting sick, and therefore, we are isolating ourselves from those who need us.
Our culture is consumed with panic. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has already affected over a million people worldwide and I’m afraid the confirmed cases are only going to increase within the next few weeks and possibly for the next few months.
However, my biggest concern is within the groups already suffering with anxiety, depression, and suicide ideations. When someone is already struggling with mental illness, having an added stress component of possible financial ruin can send them over the edge. Financial security plays an important role in our culture and some of us do not have the resources or strength to overcome such a devastation, leading to an increase in their mental health symptoms. I just heard about a father who took his wife and child’s life before taking his own, in Riverside County. This is terrifying; this added stress concerns me for our communities’ well-being.
As an advocate for suicide awareness and prevention, I am struggling with the fact that our suicide rates may increase, due to the added pressure that has been laid upon our hearts with the COVID-19. Our country is not equipped with the resources to fully help the mentally ill in a normal world, and now we have this overwhelming issue. Also, the majority of our population does not have the tools to be able to overcome such a devastation of not being able to work. A lot of people have lost their jobs, businesses, and homes.
We may not be able to save the world, but little by little we can make a difference by continuing to find good in people and notice when someone is hurting, especially the people we encounter throughout the day. This is so important. We must continue practicing kindness and caring for humanity. At times it may seem like an impossible task, but we are not the only ones who are going through these uncertain times, the entire world has been affected—so you are not alone.