#JamesDonaldson On #MentalHealth – Guest Column: Social, Emotional Consequences Of The #Pandemic May Be Tough To Overcome

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Katie Holland

Socializing is a fundamental necessity to remain sane in the face of many life stressors these days. We love to visit Five Points and have a glass of wine, maybe a beer, followed by a sun-kissed stroll and laughter with friends. Socialization is a cool drink on a hot summer day, a way to wind down; to catch up with friends and family.

It is hard to imagine that practically overnight, our entire lifestyle and approach to decreasing #stress can be drastically changed. Going from laughter in the sunshine to dampened and dark rooms with no permitted escape but technology and #alcohol. The mandated lockdowns that we endured from #COVID-19 in 2020 were intense, scary and poorly administrated. Communication errors came from everyone, the #CDC, the local government and even our peers.

The negative effects on #mentalhealth that we endured as a society from the drastic change in lifestyle will take years to address. #Domesticviolence, gunshot wounds, #depression and many other negative health outcomes increased drastically after the start of the lockdown. #Alcohol sales are still on the rise, healthy exercise habits are not increasing (along with dieting habits); #depression and aggressive #behaviors (such as #domesticviolence) are rising.

#James Donaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Order your copy of James Donaldson’s latest book,

Celebrating Your Gift of Life:

From The Verge of Suicide to a Life of Purpose and Joy

Holland
Holland

Duval County had 405 emergency room visits from firearm injuries in 2020, in 2019 we had 300 and in 2018 it was 193. In 2020 there were 8,731 reported #domesticviolence offenses in Duval (a rate of 883 per 100,000). An estimated 21 million #adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2020.

We are two years separated from the original lockdowns, but we are not seeing healthy trending habits yet. So, what can we do to better ourselves and the community around us? Some steps we can begin to take are to reduce heavy drinking habits that were possibly formed when we had no other means of entertainment. Two drinks is a good limit to hold ourselves to when casually drinking (or maybe even quit drinking all together).

Let’s also be outside more! Vitamin D is not only good for your skin, but it is also great for #mentalhealth (and no, you cannot get vitamin D through a window …unless you’re nude). Try and limit technology time, when we come home there should not be an expectation to check emails or respond to work-related matters.

There needs to be a work-life balance and the company you work for may not be advertising that. #Socialmedia is a great way to connect, but also an easy way to lose hours of your life. Perhaps set a limit on your phone to only allow an hour of media platforms and yes — that includes news outlets.

One of the easiest habits we can begin is to simply be outdoors for the sake of it. You have to take a phone call? Go for a walk while you are talking on the phone and get fresh air with raw sunlight. Lunch in Avondale? Sit outside and have some shade provided by an umbrella, but still enjoy the crisp breeze on a sunny day while people-watching.

We were forced to change our lives in the wake of a #pandemic and some of us may be stuck in those monotonous, dark, dampened habits. That’s okay. But it’s 2022 and nobody is going to force you to be a better version of yourself than you. So, get outside, get some sun and breathe that non-recirculated air!

Katie Holland is a graduate student in UNF’s Master of Public Health program.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Guest column: Social consequences of #pandemic may be tough to overcome

READ LATER - DOWNLOAD THIS POST AS PDF >> CLICK HERE <<
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