Janelle Carbone-Rodriguez, Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Q. As we come out of the pandemic, what are three issues people are dealing with?
A. At Cornerstone Centers for Wellbeing, which is a community mental health organization, we have seen clients struggle with three issues. The first is isolation and loneliness. People went from attending parties and being very social to completely shutting down. Children have had a difficult time because they are very social, and the elderly had a hard time because they started to outlive their family members and friends. Middle-aged adults had a hard time because they are the centers of the family who take care of their children, parents, and grandparents. Things stopped and the support system broke down. We as humans thrive on being social, and that was taken away from us during the pandemic.
Another area where people have struggled is financial stress. Many lost their jobs and lost their ability to make a living. With the pandemic came economic consequences that made it harder for families to pay bills and meet their financial goals. Also, jobs were classified as essential and non-essential, and not everyone agreed with that. For those working non-essential jobs, that decision went against our basic sense of fairness.
Third, people had a hard time finding new ways to accomplish routine, everyday tasks such as grocery shopping or getting a haircut. People didn’t know how to navigate outside of what they normally do. We as humans like routine and consistency. It gives us a sense of safety and security, and that sense of safety and security was eliminated. It was taken away from us through no fault of our own.
As a licensed clinical social worker, I really helped people reframe from the negatives into the positives. Clients would tell me there’s nothing positive about COVID-19. However, I told them there are positives, including a new sense of gratitude in what we do have. By that, I’m not just talking about material things but also the ability to be around friends and family members and being able to go to work every day—things we previously took for granted. The other positive is this pandemic forced us to find new ways to do things and accomplish mundane tasks. Instead of working harder, we learned how to work smarter and think outside the box. Sometimes, you must reach a point of discomfort to experience positive change in your life.
Cornerstone Centers for Wellbeing / 1.866.280.9355 / 2445 Lane Park Road, Tavares / CornerstoneCentersForWellbeing.org