Poem and Pamphlet by Jacob Lopez
My pamphlet and poem focus on the major trends found within the mental health during the outbreak of COVID 19. Traditionally, the United States is a country which values individualism to a fault. The unexpected and unprecedented affect that the virus has had on the United States can be seen through the inordinate amount of stress put onto citizens in the wake of the pandemic. This has led to an increased in anxiety and depressive disorder as well as substance abuse among adults. In addition, certain groups of individuals like health care workers, minorities, and the economically disenfranchised have suffered even more decreases in mental health according to web surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The questions then become what has caused these general trends of worsening mental health during the pandemic? What aspects of the pandemic cause mental health to be worse within specific portions of the population. What should we do to help those with mental health problems while still in lockdown and in the future after the pandemic?
In short, the answers are already here. For health care workers and caregivers, they were overburdened during the early stages of the pandemic and throughout it due to the high infection rate in America. In addition, due to the economic stresses put about due to shortages and a lack of early supports system in the pandemic, those who were already experiencing some sort of problem financially or mentally face the brunt of the problems of the pandemic (in terms of stress) due to compounding issues. The loss of family and careers, infection of those close to you, and isolation are universal stresses in the pandemic but are especially difficult for the aforementioned groups of people.
However, the question of what we can do to help mental health problems within the country is still unclear. On the governmental side, reliefs to disparaged groups, financial aid, and the production and distribution of the vaccine are the government’s responses. Focusing on the virus as a whole and trying to establish normalcy in recovery is their approach. However, this while helpful, does not directly combat the mental health issues present within society. There are limits to what individuals can do to help, but according to the CDC, the best we can do is to try to educate the population on mental health issues, open up discussions about it, and to try and help those around us cope with mental stress.
This pamphlet and poem will attempt to do all of this.
I know the Frowns Under their Masks I see the sleepless nights in the bloodshot eyes of healthcare workers fighting the teeth of the infection graphs pointing up like stalagmites I hear the commercials speaking about “unprecedented” and together” as if those companies haven’t gotten richer as the poor scrape by on 3a.m. grocery shifts risking their lives for minimum wage I feel the locks on the bars in the minds and the homes of those who isolate alone and those who have always felt they stick out like a broken bone I smell my breath on my own mask as I sigh in a line that is not distant enough because we need to learn to live with it lest we stop moving entirely because we think this kind of living isn’t worth it I know the frowns under their masks because I’ve been touched by this pandemic and I share it
Mental health and coping during covid-19. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
The mental health effects of the pandemic, 1 year on. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mental-health-during-the-pandemic-1-year-on
Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the Covid-19 Pandemic – United STATES, JUNE 24–30, 2020. (2020, August 13). Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm
The perfect storm – an interview with John moe on the pandemic and mental health. (2021, March 12). Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://www.healthpartners.com/plan/blog/the-perfect-storm-an-interview-with-john-moe-on-the-pandemic-and-mental-health/