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Clemente Writings

The Forgotten

People that were already feeling alone, depressed and uncared for have been greatly impacted by the unknowns of COVID-19. Being isolated, not having the proper access to resources, or indulging in unhealthy habits or activities have increased in overwhelming numbers. It can feel like you’re walking down a long staircase with no light, without direction.

During this time when America is dealing with this public health emergency, the overwhelming feeling of fear, anxiety and worry is shared by all America, especially if you have a pre-existing mental health issue or an undiagnosed mental health issue. Andrew Solomon, a professor of medical clinical psychology, stated in The New York Times that “Social isolation generates at least as much escalation of mental illness as does fear of the virus itself”.

A constant feeling or waves of worries sets in, waking you out of sleep and causing you not to function in a “normal” routine. This is a big adjustment for anyone that does not have the proper support or is living in an uncomfortable, unstable or even unsafe environment.

This is the time that I think local leadership in our communities should come together and make sure proper services are accessible to families.

Being quarantined can be a very difficult adjustment for a lot of individuals and families; especially if there were ongoing issues before like abuse, financial instability and health concerns. This is the time when family members should be checking on others, especially the vulnerable.

We are all dealing with the unknowns of a disease for which there is no known cure, only the suggestion of social distancing. Some people were dealing with that as an issue already in their lives (being isolated or feeling alone); but this time it is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). 

Families are left wondering if you have all the essentials. Is this enough to survive when surviving was already hard enough? Now it really is a life or death struggle. There is also the fear of going out when you never know who is infected. It could be a long time, trusted friend that you run into and you both don’t know how to greet each other when normally it would be a warm hug.

And all the while, there is still social injustice where Black people and other people of color are still not given a fair chance that others have. Even while this is going on, the people that are supposed to protect and serve select who they want to protect and serve. 

We, Too, Are America is made possible through “Democracy and the Informed Citizen,” an initiative administered by the Federation of State Humanities Council through a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

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