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The COVID-19 Affect

It is said that the COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic could negatively impact those who have experienced previous traumas.

Studies indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with distress, anxiety, fear of contagion, depression and insomnia in the general population and among healthcare professionals. Social isolation, anxiety, fear of contagion, uncertainty, chronic stress and economic difficulties may lead to the development or exacerbation of depressive, anxiety, substance use and other psychiatric disorders in vulnerable populations including individuals with pre-existing psychiatric disorders and people who reside in high COVID-19 prevalence areas. Stress-related psychiatric conditions including mood and substance use disorders are associated with suicidal behavior. COVID-19 survivors may also be at elevated suicide risk.

(Oxford University Press)

Author Kinyatta E. Gray is a grief expert, mental health and domestic violence awareness advocate. She, herself, found times where she battled negative thoughts and is particularly concerned with how those with stories similar to hers are being affected. She recalls, "Life without my mom seemed incomprehensible mixed with disturbing messages my mind was sending me in my distressed emotional state."

For National Suicide Prevention Month, Kinyatta reminds us that depression and suicide doesn't have a face. She says, "several overwhelming stress factors, such as the death of a loved one, a relationship that has soured, divorce, and sudden loss of employment and income can cause a person to spiral into an emotional abyss." It could be any one of us. She continues, "When this happens some people may believe that the only way to escape the pain and suffrage is by harming themselves, or much worse, ending their own lives." In her opinion, there are a number of red-flags to watch out for. Some may be: - sadness and depression that interferes with daily life activities

- obsession with deceased loved ones or loved one who is not returning the love

- inability to accept losing employment

- self-cutting

- isolation from friends and family

- loss of focus and concentration

- excessive use of alcohol or illegal substances

- threats of harming themselves

- loss of interest in activities that used to interest them

- a change in eating and sleeping patterns. As a community, she suggests helping those who are at risk by "consistently availing ourselves for support and a listening ear when we become aware that a friend, family, or colleagues are at risk." She continues, "We must normalize and encourage professional therapeutic interventions, promote mental health education and awareness across social media platforms, schools and places of employment, ensure that health insurance plans covered unlimited mental health visits, and amplify the success stories of those who have overcome, survived, and thrived after experiencing overwhelming stressful life issues or events. Provide hope."

COVID-19 adds a layer, that we should consider highly. She adds, "the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyone's "normal" way of life. This disruption has been further exacerbated by the loss of employment, income, and security, mandatory isolation and limited to no social contact, death toll rates at unprecedented levels, forced home-schooling, and adaptation to spending an enormous amount of time with intimate partners in confined spaces who may be abusive." These factors and many more, she says, "could lead to feelings of extreme despair, and hopeless and thoughts of suicide as a way to escape it all." For more information, visit! Also, tune in to Kinyatta's upcoming appearances on WDVM News (check your local listings) and IG Live with Rodney Wash on September 24 at 8 p.m. ET to continue the discussion.


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