When it comes to the pandemic, there are many lenses through which we can view this pandemic. There are many perspectives on what it’s like to experience such a thing, and those thoughts and feelings are based on so many things – age, sex, gender, race, religion, location, etc. Today, I want to talk about the pandemic from a mental health perspective.
More specifically, I have a question. At the beginning of the pandemic, it seemed like there was a big push toward mental health and taking care of our wellness during this “uncertain time” (which is only more uncertain almost two years later). But I’ve noticed that over time, that conversation waned, and we’ve reverted back to the general attitude toward mental health that we had before.
Like many people, I’ve read so many posts about how people want the pandemic to be “done,” or how we all need to move on from it (don’t worry, that’s not what I’ll be ranting about today). But given just how much focus was put on mental health in March 2020, I am curious – are we taking that same attitude toward mental health? Do we think that we can just “move on” from taking care of our mental health?
Back in 2020, I was encouraged with the way I saw the needle move around how we talk about mental health. I saw people posting things I’d never seen them share before, and saw commercials and PSAs acknowledge just how important it is to take care of our mental health. And then…things went back to how they were before.
People went back to doing whatever they were doing before, in an effort to get back to “normal.” And while I understand the desire to do that, I have to ask – does that also mean we have to go back to the way we ignored mental health? Because I’ll be honest, that’s not what I want, and it’s not what most of us need to live the lives we want.
I’ve said this before, but the way that we viewed mental health in the before times was terrible, mostly due to the fact that it was largely ignored. It’s important to acknowledge that the number of people experiencing mental health disorders has indeed risen during the pandemic. But it’s also important to note that that same number has been growing steadily for the past few decades. The pandemic didn’t create mental health challenges out of thin air – it exposed and exacerbated the mental health and wellness issues that we’ve been facing for years.
I don’t know what I want from this post, but I needed to get this off my chest. We can’t move on from caring about mental health. In fact, now is as good a time as any to provide support and resources for the people who need it who have needed it for the past two years.