So far, 2020 has exposed us to some of the harshest realities. Chief among them is the reminder that while we think we are the drivers of our own destinies, we’re not. With that said, I think it’s vital that we look at, not only how we lived pre-pandemic, but also, what direction as a species we should take. In other words, we have an opportunity for a reboot – to start anew, both personally and as a cog in the wheel of humanity.
While we can’t deny that this is a tragic time and we need to acknowledge that, we can, at the same time use the stay-at-home order to ask ourselves; what do we want our new normal to look like? Was the old way working? By which I mean, was it helping everyone?
In this regard, I think this pandemic has blown the doors wide open on a few things – mainly, I think, that the holes in our social fabric are biggest in health care, and mental health is no exception.
We can debate all day about why we face this health crisis, but the fact remains that it’s in desperate need of repair. One thing I am sure of is this: if we allow health care to go back to business as usual, we will see further degradation of an already-broken system.
Mental health crisis
Furthermore, not only should we reflect on and make a plan to bolster physical health care, but we should also be thinking about the way mental health care is structured. For example, prior to the invasion of COVID-19, people with mental-health conditions were waiting months to see a mental-health professional. Not only that, in some cases, but they were also being turned away while experiencing a mental health crisis.
What humanity needs now, more than ever, is us. We must provide an opportunity for a reboot.
We have to ask ourselves: is this what we really want in our new normal? Some experts are telling us that the next pandemic will be that of mental illness. I can’t help but ask myself, what’s the point of taking such drastic measures to save lives if at the end we lose even more?
Indeed, it’s time, time for us to reflect and take time to think about just how important our social safety nets are. I have concluded that in order to avoid the coming mental health wave, more investment will be needed. If not, the economy that world leaders have fought so hard to keep going will be all for not.
Similarly, if this opportunity for a reboot for us to have a better world goes unfulfilled, if we lack the will to act, we may very well find the new normal, looking worse than the old one. Do we really want to have more people suffer? One thing I am reasonably sure of is that remaining idle will cement the fate of many.
“Deeds, not words.”
In the end, we can choose to stand by and waste this time or we can plan for a better normal once this unprecedented time is but a speck in our review mirrors. Please, understand, it will take all of us to find the strength to act on what needs to be done. We can save lives if we do more than complain and be aware of what needs to be done, yet wash our hands of it by saying “Meh, what can you do?” What humanity needs now, more than ever, is us. People, out of this tragedy, we have an opportunity for a reboot… Let’s take it!
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