When a global pandemic exacerbated a pre-existing mental health crisis, the US was left with a mental health pandemic. This opened a Pandora’s box revealing what was long denied—we must prioritize mental health in all aspects of society, eliminate disparities and stigma, and become better humans.
The world was turned upside down March 2020 by a virus no one expected to turn into a global pandemic. While millions experienced loss and disruption of life, the pandemic put lives on pause, making the nation turn inward to question the life Americans were living pre-pandemic and examine who and what really mattered in this time of financial, emotional, and interpersonal upheaval. Depression, anxiety, violence, substance abuse, and mental health illnesses soared in what became a mental health pandemic. Children lost parents, millions lost jobs, and thousands of teachers and health and wellness professionals abandoned their fields.
This has been a tremendous time of reflection on how to be better to ourselves, and to humanity as a whole. What can we learn from this global disruption and how can we become better humans? To start, we can’t look away anymore. The suffering is vast, and the stakes are high. The voices of the pandemic have insightful lessons to teach each and every one of us. It’s time to silence our distractions, listen, and create transformative, sustainable strategies that prioritize the health and wellbeing of humanity.