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Mental + Emotional Health in 2021

Recently, I had the privilege of sitting through a very interesting set of presentations regarding community health. The one that really stood out for me was on mental health. Statistics in 2020 compared to prior years shows a big uptick in mental health needs. No surprise, the prevalence of mental health issues soared as COVID rampaged through our community. The statistics around mental health are alarming primarily because demand double or tripled during COVID, yet the number of community resources did not. In fact, most communities are facing a shortage of trained mental health professionals, particularly those qualified to care for pediatric patients, which is a fast-growing need. We need to invest to ensure we have the mental and behavioral health resources we need in order to heal from this crisis and move forward with a stronger, healthier community.

Recently, I was talking with someone I had only just met. I casually asked about where she was from and what her background was. As she told me her story, she teared up but tried to quickly move her narrative along to recover her emotional balance. I realized she’s like so many of us – still a bit raw on the surface, or maybe just underneath the surface. Each of us is trying to regain our balance - emotionally, mentally, socially, physically, and perhaps financially.

All of us experienced the pandemic differently. All of us had different stressors, different responses, and different needs. But the truth is, we were all impacted in one way or another. All of us are working to process this experience. All of us are probably a bit more fragile than we were 18 months ago.

So, as we focus on mental and emotional health and well-being, as we look to increase the available resources in new and creative ways, as we focus on recovery and re-imagining a new way forward, let’s also remember to be kind with one another. It’s been a really tough time, whether you work in healthcare or not. The reminder for me is that we’ve all been impacted and I don’t know your story, you don’t know mine; but I do know we’re all human and that’s where we can reconnect. Kindness matters, perhaps more than ever before.


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