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Mental Health and COVID19 - responding to community trauma.
As I am sure many of you have seen - there are already articles out there today predicting a "pandemic of mental disorders".
Seeing this made me really sad. I had previously been thinking how this worldwide emergency is proving a lot of the theories I have heard at the Humane Clinic, how all of us have brains that protect us, and that these so called "disorders" are very normal responses to threats. Watching the world in distress I have noticed how many of the ways people are responding to the Coronavirus pandemic as echoing my own brain's responses when the threat was very individual. It was reassuring to me to see this, I was thinking, this takes away the "othering" I have felt as a person with Lived Experience - suddenly I am, and all other people with Lived Experience are, very valuable resources. We have faced threats before, and survived. We know how to cope with big emotions like loneliness, isolation, financial instability, threat of homelessness, uncertainty and lack of control.
I do not want the world after this is ends (because it will end) to be one in which more people are medicated and diagnosed with disorders. But I am struggling to think of what the answer is to all this distress, this community trauma, beyond listening to people with Lived Experience. The normalisation of mental health and coming together as a community is what my heart says will lead to healing. Real human connection. But in a world after Coronavirus, how do we change our services for this to happen?
Lucy Johnstone - part of the team behind the Power Threat Meaning Framework - replied to that article with a letter to the editor (attached below). It speaks to what you are saying and what so many know is true. I think you will appreciate it.
A small excerpt:
Never has it been clearer that so-called 'mental disorders' make sense in context. ... The more we label our understandable human reactions as disorders, the greater the temptation to disconnect them from their source and focus on new individual 'treatments' instead.