When the world shut down in March of 2020, many of us were excited to have the time off of being in the office. The announcement was met with a lot of, “2 weeks working from home? Hell yea!” and none of us foreseen having to be in the house for an entire year. It went from 2 weeks to a few months to a few seasons, stuck at home with partners, children, and ourselves and our own thoughts. Many of us thought we would enjoy being at home for an extended period of time however we quickly realized that there were cons that came with the forced seclusion.
Stuck at home and its aftermath
In several instances, those who already battled with mental health disorders have seen their symptoms increase, due to the sudden changes, and the anxiety around contracting the virus. Not being able to see loved ones as we regularly would, not being able to socialize with our friends as we normally would, or interact with our coworkers and clients from our jobs. Studies showed an increase in mental health services as the pandemic continues, and also as we discuss the transition back into our “new normal.”
Our children, who typically are in class learning with their friends and classmates face to face, engaging in social activities, have been forced for the last year to only see their friends via computer, taking away the genuine and authenticity of social engagement. Many children have struggled with doing class this way, struggling to turn in assignments and many are dealing with having to stay back a grade. Graduations for high schoolers have turned into drive-bys and having to choose a limited number of people who can support this accomplishment. This is not how we ever imagined life.
Teachers have been having to control a class full of children who are way beyond their reach, and parents are working from home and having to help guide their children through a day full of school. It has been a complete shit show.
The amount of stress that we have been through this last year and a half has completely burned many of us out. It affects how we show up at our jobs in our productivity, how we show up in our relationships, and how we show up for ourselves in our personal lives. Sex lives are nonexistent, breakup and divorce rates are soaring, and people are drowning in their own emotions of depression and anxiety, seeking help on how to navigate it all. The professionals which we turn to for help in these situations are even struggling themselves.
What I learned while being stuck at home
Personally, I have been working as a case manager for the last 7 years and I pride myself on the work that I do for my clients and how I show up for them. Covid completely changed how many agencies show up for their clients, not being able to meet with them face to face and many of them disengaged due to not wanting to meet virtually.
Our agency has seen an uptick in mental health crises that we were unable to manage for several reasons. We were going through a global pandemic that we were unprepared for, while also having to manage emotions around national protests that directly impacted our client demographic.
This was nothing we could’ve written in any employee handbook. In my role, I do have to be mindful of everything that each of my clients is experiencing at the moment. One of the biggest issues that we have decided to address over the last year is mental health and making sure that everyone knows the resources that are available to them if they need to talk to somebody.
Here are a few of the resources that will connect you to mental health services if you feel that you need to talk to a therapist or if you need to speak with someone urgently or if you need to speak with someone just to help you to make sense of things in the moment.
If you or a friend is considering committing suicide, please contact the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
6 other resources you may be able to use are
- Psychology today– psychology today allows you to research therapists in your area and you can see all of their credentials and determine if they are a good match and fit for what you are looking for
- Therapy Den-you can research therapists and it is a bit more diverse than psychology today
- Therapyforblackgirls.com – this is a resource specifically geared toward women of color wherein those communities, mental health is typically not focused on or talked about
- Look on the back of your health insurance card- there is a phone number on the back of your card that you can use to contact your provider to see what provider in the area will be able to offer you mental health services
- Contact Medicaid/medicare- they will be able to let you know how you can find a mental health service provider
- Your local health department- Often times if you go to your local health department there is a therapist or counselor on staff who may be able to offer you free counseling or therapy on a sliding scale. Many therapists also offer therapy on a sliding scale as well.
Your mental health is a priority, and therapy shouldn’t be seen as a luxury; it is something that is needed no matter the color of your skin. Get the help you need.
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