HJNO Jul/Aug 2020

54 JUL / AUG 2020 I  HEALTHCARE JOURNAL OF NEW ORLEANS Our routines and relationships define us, and when that is challenged, we feel alone and experience a sense of loss. Aside from the loss of routines, we fear for our health and those we love, our jobs, our in- come, and we grieve for the ones we have lost. Quarantining with family, children and/or friends can bring added stress; we have lived with multiple generations and families under one roof before, and know this is not easy. If you are a caregiver, first responder, or a medical provider, you have the added stress and strain of long shifts, your own concerns for your exposure to the virus, of infecting others. Additionally, you may have been exposed to a previously unseen and unfathomable amount of suffering and loss. While society and family members have expressed their thanks and called you a hero, this potentially traumatic exposure can leave you feeling alone and struggling COLUMN MENTAL HEALTH FINDING OUR WAY THROUGH The COVID-19 Challenges AS YOU WORK and strive to keep your- self, your family, your friends, and your patients physically healthy, let’s not ignore the importance of coping, or even thriving, during this challenging time. While head- lines warn of a pending mental health cri- sis, remember that in Louisiana, we have stood resilient and recovered from what looked to the world like insurmountable losses. Much of what makes our culture so en- viable is now a threat to our health. It cre- ates a sense of loss and a burden for us not to hug, and not to congregate in our yards, restaurants, and music venues. However, we know what we must do to keep our spirits up, and to bolster those around us. Our connections to others is what we val- ue most. So, what can we each do to bring light to our family, friends, coworkers, and even the strangers we meet while we social distance and cover our faces with masks? It is unlikely you could find anyone whose world hasn’t been turned upside down by the virus we call COVID-19.