Pandemic effects on human spirit
COVID-19 has ravaged the country and the state of Arkansas for nearly nine months. The negative effects of social distancing, mask mandates has changed the way our population normally interacts. Matt Knight, a licensed mental health counselor, formerly with Mid-South Health Systems in Jonesboro, shares how the pandemic can affect people mentally and the ways we can off-set depression.
“I think after living this out from last March one of the most powerful things that anybody can do is stay connected to other people. The very nature of the virus has basically made us less connected. We cover a part of our face. We don't go places that we normally would have gone unless we have to. I know people that haven't been out of the house since last March and they're not doing well. And so there are some things in the way of connection that you can do.” Knight suggests that one way people can combat isolation is to use FaceTime to call somebody and actually see their face while you are talking to them. The counselor said he has friends that use FaceTime to watch movies and eat dinner together.
Another tool that many people use for work meetings that is also great for connecting with family and friends is a program implemented on computers and phones is Zoom. Knight said that it allows a lot of people to be on the computer screen at the same time as they are talking. “For example, at the church I go to, there are small groups and they have been together for several years and they didn't want to give up their meeting time. So they set up a Zoom meeting on the night that they usually meet and they meet from their homes and they've even had parties with Zoom. There are very creative ways to stay connected and those two offer at hardly any cost, a way for us to be in people's presence, and see their faces at the exact same time that we are talking with them.” Knight is quick to add, “What's missing in that obviously is touch. And you know, some people are more touchy than others. Some people are more likely to hug you than others will, but in the end, we all need that sense of touch from another person. And we've told one another that we can't do that.” He said being without touch has a psychological effect on people.
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