Let’s face reality. Very few people will come out of the pandemic enjoying good mental health. And over many years many will recover only partially.
It’s been a difficult time for most of us.
The diagram shows some of the things we have all been exposed to since late 2019. One key central issue is that most of us are not experienced with dealing with these issues. Stay inside your house for two years? Be unable to attend the funeral of a family member? Go to a friend’s house for dinner? Thanksgiving?
As we re-establish healthy lifestyles after the pandemic, it is quite important that shift many of our treatment and public health resources from COVID hospitalization into mental health services.
Now that the physicians and virologists and Big Pharma have put together effective vaccines we need to get the vaccine into the arms of our fellow citizens. People are nervous about the fact that the super-fast development of a vaccine may have been possible by not taking the same care as has been provided in the past. They fear possible side effects and wonder if researchers have fully studied and discovered all of the potential problems. Horrible mistakes from the past were made when white scientists used black populations as their test subjects, often giving people dangerous drugs without any information about problems or any informed consent protections. Some don’t think that the information they provide during the vaccination process will be stored on computers by doctors or health organizations or the government for future research.
Behavioral scientists can easily notice issues like the one I discussed in this tweet on 12/18/2020.
The models pictured are not exactly representative of America. They all look like they just came out of an ice cube tray. Sad. HHS is one of the most diverse agencies in the USA. And so is our population that we wish to vaccinate. https://t.co/3kIlQR0ndr
The bottom line is that physicians and nurses spend decades in training and clinical residencies about how to treat patients once they come in the door to the hospital, clinic, or office. Their excellence is second to none.
The second bottom line is that both behavioral research and clinical behavioral workers spend decades in training and supervised experience in getting people to evaluate and trust medical professionals, treatments, and aftercare, and then come through the door at the hospital, clinic, or office. Their excellence is second to none.
The US national covid response committee formed by President-elect Biden is comprised of physicians and a few epidemiologists with public health degrees (and without medical degrees). In general, this group is inexperienced in reassuring patients and getting them to accept treatments that appear scary.
To develop the best possible covid response we need to include behavioral scientists (psychologists, social workers, public health facilitators, community organizations, counselors, and many others) on the advisory panels and in the implementation of the covid response. Someone afraid to walk through the door or not. convinced that a vaccine works is not coming in for an injection.
The issues and a possible plan for implementation are summarized below. Click the mind map to expand it.
So you are flying home for the weekend. Fortunately I get to stay inside my condo and stay far, far away from you in a healthier universe.
Here is the visual form of the arguments of the day explaining how those who like to travel spread COVID around for the rest of us forcing retreat into the Star Wars, Star Trek, and football universes this weekend.
Click the image to expand.
Remember, even if you believe the airplane is safe due to air filtration (and it isn’t), there are one heck of a lot of those infected with COVID in the airplane terminals. And they come from all states and many foreign countries.
At least wear a mask and wash your hands. Maybe that will help you not bring your grandmother a very unwanted present.
The United States has not been able to control the covid pandemic. Amazingly to many epidemiologists and physicians, when you tell people to wear a mask and socially distance themselves from one another they do not do so.
This is not a surprise to mental health professionals.
With all of the chaos and psychological trauma and fear from coronavirus and the loss of one’s income and job, it is fairly obvious that people facing so many catastrophic stresses are going to find it difficult to change their behaviors with out support, training, and motivation to do so. Telling people to wear masks and stay home (even when the speaker is America’s favorite grandfatherly, world-famous physician Dr. Fauci) becomes an impossible task when you are worrying about where to get food tomorrow or pay rent or homeschool your child or the health of your aging parents.
Part of a successful response to a pandemic is not only developing a vaccine but also helping people deal with stress, get needed resources to repair their lives, and feel better about themselves and their futures. And then many of them can move their focus to wear a mask and social distance and accept the vaccine when it is available to them.
You know that. The immunologists and epidemiologists and administrators are not people-people but rather laboratory people. We need to get mental health and nursing and social work professionals on the side of those needing interventions to help them deal successfully with the covid pandemic.