2020-09-08

How can community actions contribute to mental health?

Written by Milena Sapey
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In times of pandemic, what about mental health? Can community action do something about it?

Mental health is always neglected about physical health. Generally, when we talk about health, the first thing people tend to think about is physical health. Moreover, many times it is related to some illnesses.

Health is not the absence of illness.

Despite being a topic that has been developed, the social imaginary continues tending to this idea of health. Why? Many times that which is not tangible remains invisible. Mental health still carries some stigma and social prejudices, and the danger of dismissing a mental health problem is not taken into account.


We always have to take into account our health and the health of others understood from a holistic point of view. That is why in times of pandemic, it is important to make visible how we feel, how we are affected not only by social isolation or quarantine but also by adapting to a new reality. As well as taking into account what is happening to the other, being aware that it is a situation in which we are all immersed and we must take care of ourselves collectively.


We must ask ourselves how are the doctors, the caregivers, the people at risk, those who have been infected, those who have symptoms, those who do not, their relatives, their friends, what happens to those who work in community kitchens, in the neighborhood organizations. It is a question of empathy and care that should not be discussed, however, the weariness and lack of acceptance of the situation that we go through in some cases become individualistic actions that harm others. This is what we must avoid.


When the answer is to take care of ourselves and others, community actions can contribute greatly to people's health, especially when the sufferings identified as a result of the pandemic are related to depression, anxiety, and stress. How? By building links with other neighbors or other organizations, thinking of collective solutions to community problems, sharing official information, listening to others to find out how they are doing.


Community action reminds others that they are not alone, and that is not a minor factor in times like ours. We need to accompany each other. Of course, there is no one solution for everyone, because each person and each community is unique, but sharing and thinking collectively helps to find possible paths.

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