The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis are impacting many people’s mental health. A recent poll by Kaiser showed that 45% of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. In another indication of stress, alcohol sales are up by over 50%. Social distancing makes everything harder. Child abuse advocates point to a concerning drop in reported cases of abuse as children are no longer in school and seen by teachers and counselors. Vermont mental health and child abuse experts discuss what they are seeing and what people can do. Washington Country Mental Health is preparing a group singing of the Bill Withers classic, “Lean On Me.” A global performance of the song can be found here. (April 29, 2020 broadcast)
On October 8, 2016, a wrong-way driver on I-89 killed five teenagers, four of whom were juniors at Harwood Union High School in Moretown, Vermont, and the fifth was a Waitsfield teenager who had been a student at Harwood through 8th grade. Several of the teenagers who were killed were close friends of my family; my son was their friend and classmate. I reflected on this tragedy in a recent op-ed.
How do you deal with a tragedy of this magnitude? How does trauma affect people? What is the new normal? That is the topic of our Vermont Conversation. My guest in the first half hour is Margaret Joyal, and Brigid Nease is the guest in the second half hour. (October 26, 2016 broadcast),
Margaret Joyal, Director, Counseling and Psychological Services, Washington County Mental Health; on temporary assignment to coordinate recovery process at Harwood Union High School
Brigid Nease, Superintendent of Schools, Washington West Supervisory Union