Sunday, April 26, 2020

Bill Crawford: Help Others Cope With Pandemic Fear and Anxiety

As the COVID-19 virus ravages our economy and health systems, it also exacts a heavy emotional toll through fear, despair, anxiety, depression, and frustration.

Pew Research Center reported, “Health experts are concerned about the potential mental health effects of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, and mental health hotlines report a substantial uptick in calls since the outbreak began.”

The Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting cited one distraught Mississippian who said, “I have not been sleeping at night. I lie awake at night for hours and replay numbers, information from the day, budgets, supplies, what if, what if, what if! I find myself, several times a day, having trouble breathing.” She reached out and got help, according to the article.

Others who are seriously impacted may not reach out. It was heart-rending to learn the virus led one dear friend to suicide and another into serious depression.

While many of us will battle to cope with stressful emotions, each of us should intentionally reach out to others to help them cope. “The best medicine can be reaching out to friends and family through telephone and maintaining a sense of connection,” Gulf Coast Mental Health Center Executive Director Stacy G. Miller told the Clarion-Ledger.

“In general, people are experiencing despair, boredom, loneliness, anxiety, and it’s all being intertwined with depression and can be connected to different reasons,” Richard McMullan, clinical director with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s Region 8 told the Brookhaven Daily Leader. “It’s a general foreboding that comes along with a situation and it comes with anxiety.”

Warning of the dangers of widespread panic she calls “emotional contagion,” Wharton School professor Sigal Barsade contends, “Emotional contagion, unless we get a hold on it, is going to greatly amplify the damage caused by COVID-19.”

Even though the vast majority of people won’t contract the virus, she said, a much higher percentage will experience emotional contagion. Barsade’s concern comes from her professional research into emotional behavior.

“One of the things we also know from the research literature is that negative emotions, particularly fear and anxiety, cause us to become very rigid in our decision-making. We’re not creative. We’re not as analytical, so we actually make worse decisions.”

During this stressful time, family, friends, and church members can play a more proactive role to head off tragedy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, "Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.”

What can you do?

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health says taking proactive steps to reach out to friends and family members can help reduce anxiety and loneliness, encouraging people to get “face-to-face” contact through applications like FaceTime or Skype. If that’s not possible, then call them and hear their voice and let them hear yours.

Pastor Beverly Knox in Meridian has been calling everyone on her contact list to check on them and pray for them.

You can also help connect those in need of counseling to licensed professional counselors.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:6-7.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

Emotional contagion? Sounds good to me. But whatever you want to call it, it's on its way if it's not already here. Most of our society today is mentally weak, that is to say they are not mentally tough. They have never had to deal with hardships and sacrifice. They have never had to make the tough decisions. I'm convinced that this is the reason for so much PTSD and suicides these days. To paraphrase Romans 5:3-4: Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance creates character, and character gives us hope.

Ignore The Doomsday Crowd Today said...

Good article. (And I'm usually pretty critical of Mr. Crawford)

There is no reason to 'stay home-bound' if you have gas in your car or can buy it. Ride around the Reservoir by yourself. Drive the Trace down to Raymond and back. Don't stop along the way to go inside any place or visit anybody. Just get out of the house. If you're home-bound with another person, take them along.

If you're not in a position to do that, call a friend and say, "Come take me riding".

Anonymous said...

Good article by Mr. Crawford.

We all need to stay in touch with others. On a few Saturday afternoons, our neighborhood has had "social distancing" tailgate parties, where everyone sets up their tables and chairs at the end of the driveways, stay more than 6 feet away from each other, and visit. We have also had "social distancing" happy hours on Friday evenings, where 2 to 4 couples sit 6 feet away from each other on someone's patio or deck and visit for a few hours. For each gathering, everyone brings their own beverages and food.

TheClintonscantsuicideusall said...

My choice. I refuse to live my life in fear of something I know will find me regardless of how hard I try to avoid it. Agree with 8:08 in regards to "Most of our society today is mentally weak, that is to say they are not mentally tough. They have never had to deal with hardships and sacrifice. They have never had to make the tough decisions". I learned the hard way in the late 60's about being mentally tough. I also agree with 8:23, get out and enjoy life, it's a shame to lose some of it the way many have. Again, my choice and opinion. Attack if you feel you need to. 8:08, thanks for the Romans reading. You all please take care.

Anonymous said...

The real " weakness" is the inability in today's society to entertain oneself and the expectation of " instant gratification" or feel satisfaction from work well done or making things better than they were.

Tend to your house and yard. No excuses for dirty baseboards and grout. You can still get soap and water. You can still pull weeds. You can go through " stuff" and clean out and sort. Even if you are old, you can those sorts of things down into a " doable" small amount each day.

You can learn something new. One friend gets in her car and drives to see historic architecture in her town...some of which she drove by for years without knowing their history.

The phones still work. Call someone.

I do know there are those too ill or too frail and who have been mostly alone for a while since they have no family here. If you know anyone like that, call them. I check on two of my elderly friends in those circumstances each day.

I really have no patience for those of you whining because you can't do your favorite activities or can't get your hair or nails done. If someone likes you only because of how you look and not because you are a good person, worry about that and change it! If you are in groups that judge others on those superficial grounds, you'd best rethink your groups.

Anonymous said...

No doubt 1:05, a great many of us have become quite vane and shallow.Very few recognize that having fun and being happy aren't the same thing. And quite a few people are so out of touch that they actually think reality television truly is reality and FOMO is one of their greatest motivators.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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