“The element of fear that has been created over this virus is one of the most concentrated attacks on how we live and plan our lives.”
What we absorb—fact or fiction—it does change our entire approach on life. Are we protecting ourselves with all the data we take in or are we doing more harm than good?
In the last couple of months life hasn’t been exactly easy: corona-virus has had an effect on all aspects of our lives and, according to a poll “nearly half the people in the United States feel the corona-virus crisis is harming their mental health. The covid-19 pandemic has escalated into a nationwide psychological trauma” wrote The Washington Post in April but the situation hasn’t changed a lot ever since. The tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 19% felt the pandemic has had a “major impact” on their mental health.
The element of fear that has been created over this virus is one of the most concentrated attacks on how we live and plan our lives as the future is uncertain, and as a result hope is replaced by fear. What we perceive is what we receive. This is particularly true for children as they quickly adapt to their surroundings. Before covid-19, when in a park, a child would run and play with other children without hesitation. With covid-19, and depending on what they have been taught, they first need to filter their desires. The wearing of masks translates in a child’s mind as either me or them have a virus, if everyone is masked we are all the same then it is good. But what about when they see an unmasked child: how are they to be treated?
Children are worried about being isolated from family and friends and catching and even dying from the virus. Parents are confused about how to address their children’s fears, or how to explain extreme containment measures, like social distancing. “As jobs are lost and families lose precious sources of income, children’s sense of security, safety and normalcy will be challenged like never before. As a global community, we have a responsibility to children’s health and well-being — including their mental health and psychosocial well-being.”
And then there are our seniors. I watch them as they go down the aisles shopping for groceries and how they stand frozen if being approached with someone without a mask, even if completely healthy. They feel vulnerable, after all the media has identified those 70+ as in the highest death group. This is a complete fabrication of the truth for being 70+ and healthy with no pre-existing health conditions cannot be grouped in with those who have died in long-term care facilities. These fatalities are mostly attributed to covid-19 and this is so very wrong. Let’s set the records straight: if a person (with high blood pressure, stroke or other coronary insufficiencies, diabetes, cancer, pneumonia, AIDS, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease) contacting covid-19 dies, they died from their pre-existing health conditions and at best with covid-19, which still would be a long shot.
Seniors are being looked at differently now and it is not out of respect, they are looked upon as being weak and vulnerable. There was already distancing between the young and the old but now it is almost to the point of complete avoidance. And on top of that add the loneliness and isolation even from their own children, even the staff in the long term care home sees them as this fragile container and they are approached this way.
“Even before the pandemic began, national studies indicated that nearly a quarter of older Americans were socially isolated and about one-third of middle-aged and older adults experienced loneliness. Having few social connections and feeling isolated have been associated with myriad health-related conditions, including chronic diseases and psychiatric disorders. Social isolation is now viewed as a risk factor for premature death, similar to cigarette smoking, physical inactivity or obesity.” Not to mention depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts have been experienced as a result of the unknown fear and the continued isolation over the past several months.
As a society we have all lost tremendously by believing and accepting without question the media’s changing narrative, we remain scared and on edge that we may lose even more, and as a result our mental health continues to suffer. Things are not improving, actually they are getting worse at a time when this entire virus should already be gone, and it mostly is depending on how the numbers are being presented. They say trust but verify, but by what authority? In all honesty use your critical thinking skills before accepting as truth everything that is being reported and being told to you and if it does not seem right dig a little deeper.
Achenbach, Joel. 2020. Coronavirus is harming the mental health of tens of millions of people in U.S., new poll finds.