Mental Health Awareness as it Relates to COVID-19, Domestic Violence, and Social Justice

Mental Health Awareness as it Relates to COVID-19, Domestic Violence, and Social Justice

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Hello! Welcome to my petition to raise awareness for mental health!

By signing this petition, you are helping to validate the voice of hundreds of Americans living with a mental health crisis especially since the impact of COVID-19, domestic violence, and the many social injustices in our society today. 

By signing this petition, I hope to take this message of awareness to the Governor of California, the CDC, and hopefully watch this message spread across this beautiful Country.

By signing this petition, you are helping me to send this valuable message:

 

"Dear Governor Newsom and the Center for Disease Control,

Mental health awareness as it relates to COVID-19, Domestic Violence, and Social Justice is an important issue that warrants further discussion and immediate action. Please review the information provided in this petition because I stand with this message and need.

I may or may not be an individual impacted by COVID-19, domestic violence, or other mental health issue, and I would like to validate the message that we need systematic change to mental health access and support."

 

 

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If you have more time to invest in this cause, I hope you review the additional information below, as well as the information in the Updates section of this petition. I share my Coming Out Story, and explain what it's like to live with a food intake disorder. 

I know it's a lot to read, but please understand that the leaders of our Country need tools and resources to make the decisions necessary to change policy and improve systems. 

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Dear Governor Newsom and the Center for Disease Control:

Mental health issues impact business professionals, government leaders, doctors, nurses, patients, teachers, students, workers, and those living daily with underlying health conditions like an eating disorder; and this list goes on...

As individuals living with mental health needs, we are asked to "self-identify" because mental health is so stigmatized in our country. 

So here I am self-identifying; like the process to come out to my community regarding my sexuality, I am experiencing the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of speaking my voice on another very important issue: mental health.

As it relates to COVID-19, I can speak openly and say the before and after photo of Mike Schultz, a San Fransisco nurse who was hospitalized for several weeks with COVID-19, was extremely triggering; because living with anorexia is a very similar experience. While I am happy that Mike is recovering from COVID-19, his image has left a lasting impression, and it is important to consider this when you consider the mortality rate of individuals who live with anorexia and the daily struggles we have to overcome to not look like Mike's after photo.  

As of this writing, I am surprised that the only COVID-19 "Conditions and Other Risk Factors" that relate to mental health, recognized on CDC's website is "Hypertension". As an individual living with an eating disorder, I would think that food intake disorders, anxiety disorders, and major depression would be included. 

This is a community call to action(s) and accountability... Please help raise awareness for individuals experiencing severe health issues like PTSD, social anxiety, general anxiety, major depressive disorder, and/or suicidal ideation. I know personally, I have been treated for all of the above and I am still a hard working Californian. 

Accessing resources like a therapist is a daunting task; filing for employment protections is a vulnerable process; mental health issues nickel and dime the person experiencing them.

Please help! Please raise awareness!

I greatly appreciate your efforts to bring awareness to mental health in your discussions with other local leaders; and I hope you can bring this message to the White House. We need a systematic change in mental health access and support; we need to be just as reactive with mental health as we are with COVID-19. This includes safe working environments, easy access to services, easy access to protections, and the ability for licensed mental health counselors, clinicians, and therapists to complete the "Part B ‐ Physician/Practitioner’s Certificate of the Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits, DE 2501 Form".

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Below is information I encourage you to review in relation to COVID-19’s impact on individuals living with serious mental health issues. 


I definitely want to point you to a local, Sacramento, CA resource called Stop Stigma Sacramento: http://www.stopstigmasacramento.org

If you only have time for that, I think it's worth a review.

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If you have additional time, please review the following CDC recommendations as it relates to essential workers being asked to return to work; and recommendations for protecting workers who are considered high-risk due to underlying health conditions, like a serious mental health condition. 

1. Employers with Workers at High Risk:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/high-risk-workers.html


"Workers at higher risk for severe illness should be encouraged to self-identify, and employers should avoid making unnecessary medical inquiries. Employers should take particular care to reduce workers’ risk of exposure to COVID-19, while making sure to be compliant with relevant Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) regulations. First and foremost, this means following CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance external icon for reducing workplace exposure for all employees."

2. Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

"Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces including your workplace, school, home, and business will require you to:

Develop your plan
Implement your plan
Maintain and revise your plan"

3. COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/office-buildings.html


"Workers in office buildings may be at risk for exposure to the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Office building employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists can take steps to create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and clients.
Create a COVID-19 workplace health and safety plan.
Start by reviewing the CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers. This will provide guidelines and recommendations that all employers can use to protect their workers and clients.”

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Now I would like to point you to additional resources that explain the mental health crisis as it relates to COVID-19:


https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/04/mental-health-coronavirus/

“Three months into the coronavirus pandemic, the country is on the verge of another health crisis, with daily doses of death, isolation and fear generating widespread psychological trauma.
Federal agencies and experts warn that a historic wave of mental-health problems is approaching: depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.
Just as the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus caught hospitals unprepared, the United States’ mental-health system — vastly underfunded, fragmented and difficult to access before the pandemic — is even less prepared to handle this coming surge.”

https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/NAMI-HelpLine/COVID-19-Information-and-Resources


Message From NAMI's CEO:

We recognize that people affected by mental illness face additional challenges dealing with COVID-19. Now, more than ever, it’s important to remember that there is no health without mental health. During these difficult times, we encourage you to take care of yourselves and check in on loved ones. You are not alone, and we will get through this together.

—Daniel H. Gillison, Jr.

https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/NAMI-HelpLine/COVID-19-Information-and-Resources/COVID-19-Resource-and-Information-Guide#q5

Are People With A Mental Health Condition At A Greater Risk Of Contracting COVID-19?

This is unknown. Talk to your provider if you have any concerns about any medications you take and whether they may affect your immune system. Stopping or changing medications is an important decision you should only make in consultation with your doctor.


I’m A Smoker. Am I More Likely To Become Ill From COVID-19? What Should I Do?

People living with mental illness have a high rate of smoking. In America, 44.3% of all cigarettes are consumed by individuals who live with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. COVID-19 is a disease that mostly affects the lungs.

https://www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus-high-blood-pressure#1


If you have high blood pressure, it's a good idea to take extra care to protect yourself during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Early research shows that people with the condition may be more likely to:

Get COVID-19
Have worse symptoms
Die from the infection

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Please help! Please raise awareness!