Save Lives From Looming Mental Health Epidemic

Target: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Goal: Support increased funding for mental health during COVID-19 crisis.

Fever, coughing, and shortness of breath may be the most well-known symptoms of COVID-19, but a series of far-reaching and equally unhealthy effects deserve more attention. The World Health Organization reminds that “the isolation, the fear, the uncertainty, the economic turmoil – they all cause or could cause psychological distress.” Recently, the planet’s preeminent authority on global public health issued a stark call-to-action: ““the mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by this crisis and are a priority to be addressed urgently.”

The social distancing, extreme economic turmoil, and seemingly unending health threat caused by the novel coronavirus have sent shockwaves into the lives of even the most seemingly stable and well-adjusted. For individuals already battling mental health issues, the impact has been seismic. People on the front lines of the pandemic, like health care workers and first responders, could also be at higher risk for serious mental health challenges.

Calls to suicide hotlines have reportedly surged in recent months. Surveys reveal widespread anxiety, depression, and even signs of post-traumatic stress. The longer the crisis lingers, the more these mental issues will adversely impact physical health as well.  Prolonged stress can exacerbate cardiovascular problems, weaken the immune system, and even shorten expected life spans.

Sign this petition to urge national leaders to give the battle against this hidden epidemic the attention and the funding it desperately needs.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

When we as a society fight cancer, we do not wait until the life-ending stages of the disease to begin treatment. We recognize that early intervention is crucial, which is the same approach we tried to take with COVID-19. Yet this pandemic has helped an equally dangerous epidemic flourish….an epidemic that already claims the lives of untold numbers of Americans every year. The epidemic of mental illness thrives precisely because of our inaction and our willful dismissal.

When the COVID-19 crisis of 2020 is in the history books, the official death tools will not likely include the individuals claimed by isolation,  poverty, stress, crushing uncertainty, suicidal impulses, and the myriad other  side effects  that will spread and kill just as mercilessly as any physical virus. The World Health Organization has warned that the adverse mental health tsunami is not a matter of “if” but “when.” Psychology professionals and researchers around the world have called for urgent studies and comprehensive programs focused on giving individuals the tools and the support they need to cope with the tough challenges ahead.

Invest in these critically needed researches and initiatives. When you negotiate the next round of emergency relief,  please do not leave out the millions of Americans—from healthcare workers to factory workers—who desperately need a holistic approach to ensuring their health and well-being.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Peter Rimar




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