As we look at the changes the world has gone through this past year one thing is certain, we are all in some way affected by COVID–19. With an abundance of anxiety and depression that has resulted from the losses, separation, isolation and uncertainty, this tsunami has hit us all so hard. So many of us have had to face drastic changes in the way we run our lives. Many have started to take a serious look inward and see what we really value and what is important for our well-being. In short, we have all learned so much about life in a blink of an eye.
As we look to ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ it could not come at a better time. The climate is now more open to looking at the simple reality. The reality that we are all susceptible to mental stressors and its stigma. Because of this it becomes easier for people to agree, that stigma in itself has begun to lose its’ hold on people not getting the help they so desperately need. For so many years, the mental illness that develops within a person has had to wait to get the help it needs for many reasons. Lack of funds. Lack of access to care. The powerful effects of stigma and generally the not wanting to have a “MENTAL ILLNESS “and just wishing that it would go away!
Prior to the Pandemic our community and state faced drastic numbers of death related to Opioid Addiction. This was further enhanced by an increase in those suffering from homelessness. Both of which, we are far from out of the woods yet. There was also a growing problem in our state with a decrease in the work-force for all forms of medical staff and out-patient clinics. This resulted in making treatments harder to access.
But New Hampshire people are resilient, we come together when we need to. We help each other because that is what we do. Just as I have faith in the citizens of New Hampshire, I believe we will overcome this Pandemic.
As we start to get back to what is being called the “New Normal” let’s not forget that some will struggle more than others. Some will need more help than others. When all individuals are healthy our community is healthy. The strength in our help towards each other has always been the answer to raising hope for those who struggle with mental illness. I go forward with a renewed sense of optimism and I hope you do too.
By, Rik Cornell, VP of Community Relations