ACRAMENTO, CA / December 11, 2020 / As the nation faces a third wave of COVID-19 infections this year, America’s underserved communities have continued to face greater exposure to the virus and have been adversely affected by the pandemic on a much larger scale, leaving many in need of support from their communities.
Many people in these communities have had difficulty staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, either because they disproportionately work in essential roles, or can’t afford to miss work, and are more likely to have jobs that do not allow telecommuting and remote work. not been as fortunate.
Dr. Cynthia Telles, director of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center for Excellence, has seen the challenges caused by the pandemic, the sacrifices people are making to support their families’ economic needs, and the toll it is taking on individual and community health.
“As this new wave of infections spreads, our communities need more support than ever,” says Cynthia Telles. “Organizations which strive to deliver comprehensive health care to underserved communities are stepping forward as you would expect. Organizations and individuals need to act to also support the social needs of those impacted (financial strain, food insecurity, housing, etc.).
Large organizations — and many small and mid-sized businesses, which have been able to stay open and remain sustainable during the pandemic — have stepped up their charitable support and community grants this year to try to help those in need.
Cynthia Telles suggests that a great way for many people to provide community support is by checking with local food banks to help meet their community’s resource needs. As more and more families suffer with job loss and food insecurity due to the pandemic, food banks have become an even more vital resource. Most pantries continue to welcome a wide variety of meaningful help during the pandemic from donated food products, gifts of money, or even volunteers who can work in socially distanced ways.
“As we face historic, unprecedented challenges, stepping up traditional solutions, such as food banks and financial assistance, is critical,” noted Cynthia Telles. “We all have an opportunity to act and contribute to improving the health and mental health of individuals and communities in need.”
Another tangible and very personal way people can help the people in their community is to reach out to neighbors, friends, and others to check in to see how they are feeling, and whether they might need emotional support or even help with mental health challenges.
“So many people are suffering from stress aggravated by the loneliness and anxiety brought on by the pandemic,” said Cynthia Telles. “Connecting with others in these times of isolation, in order to comfort and support, is a great way to mitigate the negative effects the pandemic is having on everyone.”
Many volunteer groups are operating phone banks and using other tools – like socially distanced neighborhood canvasses — to reach isolated community members. These efforts can help, not only to provide missing social connections, but they also can help identify persons, who may need mental health care due to the devastating impact of the pandemic.”
Andrew Mitchell, Cambridge Global
SOURCE: Cynthia Telles
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