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COVID task forces need mental health representation | READER COMMENTARY

Maria Grande, Anne Arundel County Immunization Program at the Department of Health, receives the first Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the county from Disease Prevention and Management Deputy Director, Jennifer Schneider, M.S.N., R.N. With support from the State of Maryland, the Anne Arundel County Department of Health is providing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to its frontline health care workers, who staff the COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs. The Department has received an initial 100 doses. As more vaccine arrives next week, the Department will begin vaccinating first responders. December 24, 2020
Maria Grande, Anne Arundel County Immunization Program at the Department of Health, receives the first Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the county from Disease Prevention and Management Deputy Director, Jennifer Schneider, M.S.N., R.N. With support from the State of Maryland, the Anne Arundel County Department of Health is providing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to its frontline health care workers, who staff the COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs. The Department has received an initial 100 doses. As more vaccine arrives next week, the Department will begin vaccinating first responders. December 24, 2020 (Jeffrey F. Bill/Capital Gazette)

As we know from the health care system in general, mental health needs are often neglected, giving way to medical conditions — as though mental health illness is not a medical condition.

Kerry Malawista’s commentary on Jan. 1, “A ‘Category 5’ mental health crisis is coming,” is essential to our nation’s well-being and recovery from the convergence of COVID, our nation’s ragged health system, the daily drama and uncertainty we have been experiencing these last years, and the isolation that has come about due to our deep divisions.

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As a psychotherapist myself, I want to add the need for mental health representation on the COVID task force for all the reasons Ms. Malawista suggests but also for us, the “front line” mental health workers who are experiencing the same stress, confusion, isolation and uncertainty as our patients and everyone else. We are committed, to the best of our ability and self-awareness, to helping others and will do so until and unless we find ourselves incapable of handling the emotional toll.

If anyone can hear this plea for representation, it is Joe Biden.

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Ruth Neubauer, Denver, Colorado

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