Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced a relaxation of the mask mandates for those fully vaccinated against the disease. Our Governor Whitmer echoed this with a lift on required mask wearing and many establishments are following suit.
This marks the beginning of the end of a long journey with this pandemic. Many will welcome this freedom and others may continue to wear the masks as extra protection regardless. While this is certainly good news that we are progressing in our battle, we need to keep in mind that we are still not totally out of the woods yet. There are still many unvaccinated individuals, people are still getting infected, and we must remember that this coronavirus is “novel”, which means it is new and we may not understand it completely. Our residents’ and staff’s health and wellbeing are our main priority and Flatrock employees will continue to wear masks in care homes.
While there may still be things we cannot know for certain, what we do know is that the pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health. Forty-two percent of respondents to a CDC survey this past December reported anxiety and depression symptoms, an increase of 200 percent from the average in 2019.
Worry about catching or spreading the virus and social isolation all contributed to mental health issues during the pandemic. Added to that was high unemployment, which always has contributed to depression historically. Further, the CDC reports that opioid misuse and overdoses increased during the pandemic.
While these numbers are bleak, and it may take some time before our “winter of discontent” is behind us, there is hope on the horizon. As the economy improves and more people get vaccinated, life becomes more “normal” and our metrics are improving.
If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, or know someone who is, practice self-care including:
- Taking breaks from watching, listening or reading the news, including social media
- Take care of your body
- Make time to unwind
- Connect with others, the community and/or faith-based organizations
There is outside help available. We are in this together and the future looks bright!