COVID-19 has certainly changed the world we live in. There is no doubt about that. While we try to stay connected to one another, we must do so from a distance. We learn to check in with one another from a distance. Yet checking in from a distance can have different meanings too.
I say this because COVID, of course, isn’t the only thing that has been happening in recent weeks. We’ve also seen national and international protests against the scourge of systemic racism. And for persons of color, there can be serious mental health impacts of having these incidents of racism be shown over and over again on local and national news.
Yet just like how mental illness impacts everyone differently, so too does racism. Some might be very willing to talk about their experiences and reactions to this. Yet others might not want to talk about it, and pushing the issue can cause harm to their mental health too, just as if you asked a patient with a broken leg to walk before they were ready to do so.
Ultimately, it is essential to respect the wishes of others when it comes to both racism and mental illness. Checking in is important, but knowing how to keep your distance and give them the space they need is equally important.