Community Social Media Page Brings Awareness for Lockdown Mental Health< < Back to
A society that lives on constant connection and communication is still trying to cope with the restrictive regulations of COVID-19. This pandemic continues to evolve at a rapid pace and with the ever-increasing cases it has caused school closures, unemployment, and businesses to shut down, leaving many to question what to do and how to cope with the sudden changes.
Routines had to be changed and families are still trying to find a balanced schedule stay-at-home-style. Megan Caraballo is figuring out how to not let her child fall behind in school while balancing a full-time job.
She is lucky enough to already have a work-at-home job however, it is new to have her 5-year old home in addition to her 1-year old.
“My stress level has gone up. I am worried that Liam will fall behind in school and in therapy. I have anxiety that he won’t improve academically while home with us,” said Caraballo.
His therapy has crossed over to online and this includes both physical and occupational therapy. Twice a week he does virtual classes that include certain drills to help with his movement. Caraballo says, “His therapist is able to virtually give him instructions over video call and watch him, in order to correct any mistakes he makes.”
While this may seem like a great option for children going through the same thing, it can be difficult especially for younger kids, “It’s more difficult for Liam because he is not in a classroom environment so it is harder for him to take seriously. It makes him not focus as well as if he was in a classroom-based setting,” Caraballo said.
Mental Health Importance
When situations come up like this, mental health should be carefully checked. According to The American Psychological Association, social isolation carries a number of risks. This feeling can lead to a lack of proper sleep, poor cardiovascular health, depressive symptoms, and lower immunity. Not surprisingly, people who are quarantined are very likely to develop a wide range of these symptoms of psychological stress.
Caraballo has felt this kind of stress. “It is easy to become anxious and depressed while constantly being inside and at home and not knowing what will come next. It is hard not knowing a date that this will end,” she said.
According to the World Economic Forum, in cases were parents are self-isolated with children, the mental health toll became even steeper. In one study, 28% of parents under stay-at-home orders warranted a diagnosis of “trauma-related mental health disorder”.
It is also common with community members who aren’t self-isolating with children. The national hotline providing emergency help to people suffering from emotional distress has received nearly nine time more calls than it did this time last year, thousands are reaching out for assistance amid the coronavirus crisis, according to U.S. officials.
Community Coming Together
Mason, Ohio community members started getting creative with entertainment options for the community. Shelly Kallach, a stay-at-home mom who owns a home décor direct sales business started Facebook live décor workshops. Her projects include unique designs to spice up the home. Before the pandemic, she would host crafty classes outside her home or host weekend events. But she has adjusted to hosting online.
She relays on communication through social media. “Social Media proves to be a powerful resource when trying to reach a large community of people with the same interests,” Kallach said.
In fact, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram have experienced a 40% mid-March usage spike as a direct result of COVID-19.
Kallach will continue going live on a daily basis and has even started private DIY groups that create projects together. She says, “It’s important to let people know that you are just like them…we are all human and need that interaction and connection.”
Another Act of Kindness
While some are posting online sessions or classes, others are creating posts for relaxation and escapes. Fredrick Westermeyer is taking his own selfless approach for the Mason community, sharing photography and poetry online. A retired 74-year old who had a career in marketing decided to share sunrise pictures during lockdown.
Westermeyer has always cared for his mental health and has decided to post these pictures on the Mason Community Facebook page. He has noticed the very positive feedback filled with likes and kind comments.
His new routine consists of getting up at 4:00 AM, taking his wife to work, finding a site for early morning pictures, coffee, walking, writing, picking up his wife from the hospital, calling family or friends and ending with writing or posting.
He started posting pictures online. “I was looking for a local page to post my sunrise photos… I simply came up with a theme – sunrise photos during lockdown in Mason,” Westermeyer said. His theme is simple–a look at life during lockdown. Now he has more time than ever to focus more on writing and photography.
Caraballo is using her extra time finding more unique avenues for entertainment for herself and for her family, including her home improvement projects and for Liam, watching the Cincinnati Zoo Facebook page live stream daily.
“Being able to access different online ideas for entertainment has helped relieve stress and anxiety and keep my mind occupied during the time that we are in quarantine. Every day I find something new that somebody in Mason is doing,” Caraballo said.