In our time of crisis I don’t believe there is a person untouched by the corona virus any place in the world. The feelings of fear and negativity touches all of us and at this time. We need to pay attention to the wellbeing of each other more than ever. Some are feeling great distress now, others feeling stuck and helpless, and many are not reaching for help. Many suffer in silence and In general people have a hard time admitting that they are scared and need help.
We are seeing an increase in suicidal attempts in our community. People try to escaping from their painful feelings. It happens across all ages and cultures. Whether is a 10 years old who lost the only social opportunity since he is not attending school, people who lost their job or grandparents who miss the physical touch and hugs of their children and grandchildren. A colleague shared that her daughter saw a neighbor who usually appears all together in the street talking to herself. “She reminded us that “No one is safe from this.” This experience traumatized her daughter as well.
Some things that increase frustration and create helpless feelings today are:
You can make a difference. Be there for people who need your attention. How can you support others right now? Look for signs of sadness overjoy, isolation or irritability.
Many things are forbidden in our Jewish culture, but we shouldn’t judge people in their distress since they are more likely to act from their impulse, not their logic. People who look mentally stable usually, in today’s environment are not always capable to see clearly.
Want to help your neighbors? Ask questions from a distance such as:
You sound frustrated today, how can I help?
You want to tell me about it?
Sometimes we feel that we don’t have choices? Tell me about it? What discourages you?
Tell them how much you care.
If they are getting stuck, encourage them to see beyond. The future when it’s over, your family?
Simply say and assure them “I want to be there for you.” Keep talking to them, don’t leave them alone and call someone for help if needed.
Some useful Tips
1. Take their words seriously
2. Don’t act as if you are shocked and overwhelmed … stay calm … your state of mind will help (its contiguous)
3. Don’t lecture about the importance of human life, just listen with empathy
4. Give them hope or temporary solutions that may makes a difference for them
5. Be there for them and normalize the situation as much as you can
Our Torah constantly encourage us to choose life and refrain from judging others. People need us now and they are worth our respect and time.
May we all experience growth and Achdot (togetherness) and we become stronger from this experience. Stay safe and strong.
Efronit Levi is a LMHC -Clinical Mental Health Counselor working with children and adults in Brooklyn New York. She can be reach her at email@example.com