A message from the reader This is a discussion post written by an outside contributor. The publication expresses the views of the author.
Suddenly the epidemic is almost over. The letter received a few weeks ago was greeted with tears of joy, a sense of great relief and a festive weekend like never before in Norway.
Many are fortunate to be able to return to their daily lives similar to those that existed before the pandemic. Return to work and regular social gatherings. Life is filled with the joy of looking forward to traveling abroad again and celebrating life’s milestones like weddings, birthdays and affirmations with as many guests as you wish.
Others are not so lucky.
Many have felt tremendous psychological stress during the pandemic. Research by the National Institute of Public Health on infection control measures, quality of life, and mental health showed that more people experienced loneliness and mental illness during this period, and that young people and single people experienced greater stress. The Student Health and Well-being (SHoT) Survey from April of this year found that 45 percent of college students developed serious mental illness during the pandemic. Kirkens SOS always notes the increased pressure on our services.
Due to social distancing, many have lost their friends during the pandemic. While some return to groups of friends and active environments, others are left more alone than before. While we can find some comfort during the pandemic in the fact that we were all alone, today one can feel alienated and ashamed that one is still alone, while “everyone” is partying outside.
During the pandemic, we have been able to talk really well about how we are taking care of each other. We tested more openness about mental health, loneliness, suicidal thoughts, and prevention. After all, this period brought more attention to mental health. We normalized it to have difficulty.
We need to move on with that. Not everyone is healthy, although the epidemic is over and the sun is shining. Many people will struggle for a long time with the consequences of the traumatic period. Many are still afraid. Many are still not sure if the pandemic is really over. Many people ended up without a job and a social network.
Let’s not forget the community and the care we have provided so well during the pandemic. A neighbor or co-worker who lives alone may feel lonely outside. That is why we emphasize the theme of World Mental Health Day:
be aware of. Be present. Complete.
So far, everyday life has become normal.
Hilda Stock Luth, leader of the SOS Innlandet Church, Gjøvik
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