Social Distancing and Isolation are critical strategies for combating the spread of what we now face as COVID-19. However, social isolation is dangerous and in fact, for far too long, people with disabilities, including those with mental health concerns, as well as our seniors, ha
ve known social isolation and have been subject to the circumstances of such isolation. It is what Centers for Independent Living like BRIDGES fight for every day; to remove barriers that marginalize and isolate our community and to advance autonomy. This situation is not new and the rise of our current conditions will only exacerbate the loneliness and isolation people with disabilities and seniors have felt.
Several articles from various news outlets including the Journal News in Rockland have pointed to this issue and its impact. It is critical that we remain connected with our senior and disabled members of our community! We cannot further isolate our members from human connection without seeing its consequences in the form of depression, anxiety and or other mental health problems and especially those whom have experienced suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
Now more than ever – family, friends and colleagues must be committed to connecting with those members of our community who need that human connection, accountability and support. BRIDGES is taking steps to ensure we are connecting with as many of those we’ve served in the past year to ensure they have someone to talk to. Our employees are not licensed professionals; they are Peers or Peer Specialists and they are people with shared lived experience. Your concern is our concern!
I want to salute NAMI of Rockland who is taking steps to offer members of the community a hotline to call when they need someone to talk to; the Office for the Aging who has organized volunteers for our seniors; as well as so many other organizations who are thinking about the community first during this unprecedented time. This is exactly what we need in times like these and
we need more of it. BRIDGES will continue to support our community and we are doing so using all the precautions, recommendations and mandates of the state to lessen exposure and assist our health care community in flattening the curve.
We have to work together to get past this very trying time. It’s the only way we will survive it!