Social Distancing Does Not Mean Emotional Distancing
Urgent Update from the National Health Committe
National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.
“Human beings are social creatures. We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others. We are social in a more elemental way: simply to exist as a normal human being requires interaction with other people.” ~ Atul Gawande (American Surgeon, Writer, Public Health Researcher)
COVID-19 has caused us to swiftly adopt social distancing as our new normal at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control. As the CDC as well as the State Health Department has continued to release very important health related recommendations, our state governmental leadership as well as the White House has acquiesced at different response times. However, the consistent message has been that social distancing is key to flattening the curve in COVID-19.
The effects this pandemic has had on our lives has been devastating. Court houses are shut down; only emergency hearings are being heard. Police are not responding to all calls. Businesses are closed; many will not recover. Employees are required to telework, unless he or she are considered essential employees. Shelter in Place Orders are signed by government officials making it illegal to leave your home for non-essential reasons. The unemployment rate is record breaking, and many are financially bleeding. Students are no longer being taught in the classrooms. Doctor appointments are virtual. No visitors are allowed at the hospitals. Churches are closed. Nursing homes can’t accept visitors. Families are living in isolation. Technology has shot through the roof! But human interaction has decreased.
A lot of us are old school ladies. We were raised during a time when you visited neighbors, shared a home cooked meal and whenever you couldn’t reach someone, you would stop over to check for yourself. We said all of that to say, this pandemic is pushing us to get back to the basics; not only the basics of health, but the basics of human interaction. The CDC has already given us a lot of information. But truthfully, it goes back to the basics of hand washing and cleaning. The National Health Committee, encourages you to not only continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC and the State Health Department, we’d like to remind you that social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Remember that this plays a big role into your mental health. We are meant to be social people. It’s not enough to send a text message, or to send an email. Pick up the phone. Call your loved one. Hear their voice. Use discernment. Don’t rely on a text message to determine if someone is okay. FaceTime your family and friends, and look them in their eyes. Listen to one another. Just because you can’t be there physically doesn’t mean you can’t emotionally share this burden of COVID-19 with your friends and family. Yes sisters, this is heavy. But together, we can carry this and get through this.
Know that we are praying for you all. And we look forward to seeing you on the other side of this.
Mia Johnson, Chair
National Health Committee