#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
We have passed another point in the pandemic and it is time to talk about some of the challenges that we may all face soon enough.

This isn't pretty. So if you think you'll be triggered or if you are squeamish don't read.

#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
Last night a milestone was passed in NYC. A grim milestone.
Keep the scene in your mind.
Emergency workers of all levels are slammed. They are on the front line and succumbing to #COVID19. The police force is about 17% down.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
EMS are working nearly double the volume of calls per shift. Those calls cover everything, cardiac problems, falls, automobile accidents, fire and yes #COVID19, too.
They are a resource that is being stretched beyond its limit.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
Hospitals are filling, if not already full in the city. And yes, there are refrigerated semis parked on the streets to act as temporary housing for the dead. And yes, at least one hospital is using a forklift to move bodies.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
We, as Americans, are so unused to scenes like this. And more scenarios that we are ill-prepared for are coming.
Last night first responders were ordered to leave those they could not resuscitate, a spontaneous pulse, where they were found.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
The EMS service will not transport a body to the currently overwhelmed hospitals. There is an attempt to establish DOA teams to retrieve bodies from homes, places of work, and the street.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
I know that I am not ready for that. I don't live in NYC but in a small rural town. We feel insulated from the world here, but there have already been two cases of #COVID19 in the county. And we have one hospital, with two isolation beds.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
Back to the population at large. This scene could repeat across the nation in towns and in cities. None of us are invulnerable to the virus, or to the mental strain this crisis is going to put people under.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
Culturally, most of America is very removed from death. Death in the States is mostly clinical. Mostly behind doors.
Rarely, very rarely is death in the open for any length of time.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
After hurricane Katrina was one of those rare and terrible times when the resources that were available were directed to the living.
It took me a long time to see it was not cruelty, it was triage.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
And the inability to deal with the dead was a sign of a system that had badly underestimated the effects of the disaster. A system that was fundamentally unprepared.
A case of prepping for the 100-year flood, not the 1,000-year event.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
I do not know how many Americans are prepared to sit with their dead, or the dying.
I have done it. I will spare you the details, but the sound of the ventilator is one that still haunts me.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
We as a nation are facing not only an immunological disaster but also a trauma disaster. Both will present wide-spread effects in the months to come. Unlike the viral pandemic for which my hubs and I have prepared to a degree,
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
there will be ripples of trauma through communities, families, and individuals. And those invisible wounds where those afflicted hide their symptoms, I fear, those will also be deadly.
#coronavirus and #mentalhealth
And unlike the viral victims, for whom my husband has tasked me with seeing how much plastic sheeting we have, we cannot simply roll up and seal away the mental health victims of this plague until the system is capable of dealing with them.
You can follow @MStewart_Author.
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