As we approach the end of May, I want to bring attention to a positive focus on Mental Health. We have all been living through an unprecedented medical crisis with Covid – 19. Unfortunately we know that the mental health issues of depression, anxiety, trauma and loss are issues we are facing in increasing magnitude as we navigate months of “Safe at Home” to emerging with next steps. We have faced a truly painful and overwhelming experience and now must confront the uncertainty of how to live moving forward. Without Covid – 19 as a backdrop, we know that research shows us that 1 in 5 will develop a mental illness in their lifetime. Fifty percent of lifetime mental health issues begin by age 14, with 75 % by age 24. Despite much work on reducing stigma only 44 % typically receive treatment for mental illness.

Antony Sheehan, CEO of Aspire Health Alliance, is the author of the phrase, “All Health is Mental Health”. I am hoping we can create community based support and help for everyone in need. We must openly embrace that we all have been touched by this pandemic. The losses are overwhelming. The uncertain future looms large. But, we do know that connection, dialog, support and treatment can be powerfully beneficial and effective.

South Shore Health has been attentive to the extraordinary needs for everyone in the medical community providing support and assistance. We have been hosting weekly Zoom presentations on taking care of one self, stress, loss and grieving, trauma, managing children during the crisis, nutrition in collaboration with Fusion Academy. We hope to continue using a digital platform to bring resources directly to everyone.

We must stand together, we must reach out to everyone in need, we must be open and compassionate as we take gentle, next steps.