The American Psychiatric Association (APA) published a poll that exposes the serious toll that the COVID-19 pandemic exerts on the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Americans. The relative comfort of “life as we knew it” has been replaced by fear and uncertainty. What is the current status of our citizen’s mental health? Will it get worse? Is there good news on the horizon for us regarding the virus? Finally, how can we start preparing now for a spectacular post-COVID-19 life filled with health, hope, and abundance?
An APA poll exposes the state of mental health in America
The March 18th/19th, 2020 poll included 1004 adults with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
What are Americans saying?
36% – Say coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health.
40% – Are anxious about becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus
57% – Are concerned that the coronavirus will have a serious negative impact on their finances
62% – Are Anxious about the possibility of family and loved ones getting coronavirus
A profound negative effect
The percentages indicating concern and anxiety will likely continue to increase as conditions surrounding the pandemic worsen. Conditions are already considerably more severe than when this poll was taken. We must start preparing now for a future tsunami of coronavirus related mental health issues.
Does good news globally bode well for us locally?
During an April 5th press conference, Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force stated that “Italy and Spain are coming across their apex and coming down the other side.” This means that new coronavirus cases are past their peak. Additionally, Spain has just reported its lowest daily death toll in a week and Italy has reported its lowest daily death toll in the last two weeks. This is great news!
Italy and Spain
Dr. Birx also stated that “Italy and Spain just completed their four weeks of really strong mitigation.” She suggested that we can turn the tide like Spain and Italy by practicing four strong weeks of mitigation including sheltering in place, hand washing, wearing cotton masks in public and social distancing.
By the time this is published COVID- 19 cases and hospitalizations may have already started a decline in some of the earlier “hot spots” like New York. That will mean the plan is working and that would be great news.
Search for a silver lining
The Coronavirus pandemic has the potential to leave a lasting historical footprint on par with Pearl Harbor and 9/11. It’s unnerving that we simply don’t yet know where, when, and how this health crisis is going to end.
That’s precisely what makes our situation so difficult to manage mentally and emotionally. Through fear of the unknown and loss of control, the post-COVID-19 world has consumed much of our power. Counter the stress and anxiety caused by a perceived loss of control by taking back your power wherever you can. Instead of letting things happen to you, force your will and make things happen in the direction that you desire. Don’t be passive, don’t be a victim.
Let’s make a commitment
To creating a stronger society and a more perfect version of ourselves during this time. While we plot our future stay engaged as best you can with the things that matter to you. I believe in self-fulfilling prophecy. Let’s collectively work for and “will” a superior “post-COVID” outcome.
Shunning victimhood and working to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever should be our primary goal. Successfully navigating through the pandemic and thriving when the term “viral load” becomes a bad memory would be the ultimate tribute to those who suffered greatly or paid the ultimate price. My final suggestion: Start preparing now for how great life is going to be.
Additional information from the CDC
The CDC has an entire section dedicated to stress and coping in these trying times. www.cdc.gov
Direct link to Stress and Coping https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
Wayne Coolidge, Jr., M.Ed., CHES is an author, speaker, and innovative Health Promotion Scholar-Practitioner. He owns Wayne Coolidge Health Promotion, a consulting firm specializing in healthy aging, nutrition, nutritional supplementation, fat loss, fitness, and disease prevention. His expertise is designing lifestyle-optimization strategies leading to positive genetic expression, controlled cellular aging, health, and wellness. He has accumulated more than 31,000 hours of one-on-one training and personal consultation experience over a 37-year career. Wayne’s web site www.waynecoolidge.com. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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