Recovery consists of those activities that continue beyond the emergency period to restore critical community functions and begin to manage stabilization efforts. The goal of the recovery phase is to bring the affected area back to some degree of normalcy. (Ex. returning to work, planned re-openings, etc.)
As we consider COVID – 19 and the phases of emergency management, we hope that, with a few exceptions, we are squarely in the recovery phase. The administration of vaccines to over 22% of the US population, and the development of more effective treatments for those with the virus have enabled us to pursue some degree of normalcy. We have removed or significantly reduced restrictions, increased services, and returned to in-person learning and working. The tremendous loss of life, financial security, connection and emotional well-being means that the road to recovery will be a long one.
Over 563, 000 Americans lost their lives to COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands of spouses, brothers, sisters, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, co-workers, friends, and others are no longer with us. In many cases, family and friends could not even be with their loved one’s during their final illness or comforted by familiar traditions associated with grief and loss due to restrictions and requirements like social distancing. In addition, some individuals are even plagued by the guilt of having possibly exposed the deceased to COVID-19. That our national and personal grief and heartache are beyond measure is an understatement.
Jobs will return, restaurants have re-opened and fans have returned to sports stadiums. There are even discussions about resuming cruises and other activities. However, living without a loved-one is a long, painful, never-ending process for which special assistance may be required. Mental health resources are often an overlooked, underutilized element of recovery. Those who have experienced a loss, as well as first responders and caregivers, may not initially realize the impact of their experiences. If you are experiencing the following, especially for an extended period, you may need professional help.
· Feeling deeply angry about the death or loss
· Being unable to think about anything but your loved one
· Having nightmares or intrusive thoughts
· Feeling deep loneliness and longing for the persons you lost
· Feeling unable to maintain regular activities
· Feeling bitterness about life and envying others not effected by grief
· Being unable to enjoy life or remember happy times
Help is available through your doctor. Some companies or organizations have employee assistance programs that can direct employees to resources. Resources are available through insurance providers. Affordable counseling is also available on-line. If you, your family members or friends have experienced loss or trauma, consider enhancing your recovery by seeking assistance.
Harris County Public Health – Mental Health Support Line – 833.251.7544
http://store.samhsa.gov – Tips for Survivors