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Post Pandemic Re-Entry

By ALICIA MORTON FARLESE

Not in our lifetimes has humanity experienced such a pervasive, profound, and prolonged retreat from “normal lives.” This. Will. Not. Be. Easy. 

While the conversation about the serious negative impact on our behavioral health has started, we also suffer from a scarcity of behavioral health professionals, and equitable access to these essential resources.  

More than ever, we all seem to “get it” and are reflexively more forgiving when we hear that some of us are struggling with the behavioral health consequences of Covid -19 — we’ve all been there to some extent over the past year.  

As a Veteran, I’m accustomed to reintroduction plans, designed with thoughtful consideration, anticipatory preparation, and behavioral health resources for military members (and their families) returning from deployment. As we approach normalcy, a similar reentry will soon begin, yet we’re not talking about what to expect and how our behavioral health needs will be addressed. Where are the post-pandemic re-entry plans? Yes – we want to get back – but just as the military members need level-setting guidance, support, and understanding as they return “home” so do all of us as we begin our reentry. 

Our battlefield has been the isolation, home-schooling, remote working, laid-off, caring-for (and saying goodbye to) loved ones for the last 11 months. It has been the tangled web of emotions: tragic, heartwarming, frustrating, endearing, exhausting and confusing. Emerging from this Nebel des krieges will not be the walk in the park that we hopeful humans imagine it to be.  Now is the time to plan for re-entry. 

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