I’m writing this as the governors of Texas and Mississippi are announcing the lifting of their state-wide mask and other virus-related mandates.
Eventually, this will happen throughout the country and the world. This “tipping point,” when the virus spread will be reduced or a rare occurrence, has been talked about by Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and other doctors over the past year. It’ll eventually happen in Arizona and Maricopa County.
The focus of government and everyone has been on containing the virus. The affect it has on our economy has been a continuing discussion.
I read reports over the past couple days on what the shutdown has done to our social and mental health. It’s appalling what has happened to the under-25 age group during the pandemic.
Triple the number of cutting or other self-harm instances, one in five teens or younger considered suicide, and the actual suicide rate for teens and younger doubled in the past year.
Feelings of isolation, neglect, lack of interpersonal connection, and other reasons were given for this unfortunate surge. Alcoholism and drug addiction has also increased.
The mental side effects of the shutdown were brought up as a concern a year ago, but never really given any serious attention or consideration.
Using some common sense, I believe returning to or finding some structure in daily life would help.
Familiar surroundings are more calming than a new environment. That’s the reason people forget things when they walk into another room.
Routine disappeared when the virus hit. A little change is manageable. The chaotic mess thrown at us like spaghetti into a fan was crushing.
Most adults coped better than the younger generations because we’ve had more life experience to prepare for the unexpected. Going back to in-person learning would be a good start.
The sooner we can be more like Texas, Florida, Mississippi and the other states, the better our chance to “slow the spread” of mental and social problems that have taken over too many people’s lives.
I urge our elected officials to take the same energetic action dealing with the repercussions of the shutdown as they did with the virus.
Editor’s note: John Safin is president and CEO of the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce.