Welcome to PHQ! (from >6 feet away)!
Reporting live from PHQ headquarters (yes, my couch) . . .
As the COVID-19 pandemic ensues and entropy seems to become the new normal, anxiety and fear continue to spread across the nation. Each of us is experiencing it in our own way, and every concern is equally valid. Whether someone's fear is contracting COVID-19, loved ones falling ill, diminishing access to vital resources, social distancing/quarantining for [...ever], or dying alone - all these and more are very real.
My greatest concern is the inevitable - and potentially catastrophic - downstream mental health impacts of Coronavirus. My concerns are three-fold:
Computing the number of people currently [healthily] living with well-managed mental and physical health challenges, who are at risk of spiraling into emotional distress due to this trauma and its impacts. It is unsettling.
Comprehending that this pandemic may trigger the initial onset of a mental health condition for someone who is predisposed (e.g., anxiety, depression, bipolar illness, etc.). Without the necessary support and resources in place, these individuals are particularly vulnerable.
Attempting to predict the widespread devastation that will result from the economic impact is impossible. The emotional distress that all of us are, or will, experience in one form or another - personal, professional, social, and/or financial loss, will be immeasurable.
While I hope I to be proven wrong (thanks to the proactive, successful implementation of prevention initiatives) - I predict that the COVID-19 pandemic will prompt a large-scale mental health epidemic.
In December 2019 I set out to launch a health tech company in hopes to address significant gaps in the healthcare system after having been through a prolonged, arduous medical recovery. I am not a licensed mental health counselor nor a medical professional. I am somebody with lived experience. I had managed anxiety my entire life, and first experienced depression while recovering from an accident. Depression showed up during my rehab and made the already arduous recovery feel nearly impossible.
Anxiety and depression do not discriminate nor do they recognize exceptional circumstances. Nobody is immune. Not even people with al
l the trappings of success, happiness, health or wealth. Debilitating anxiety and depression can be crippling and can inhibit one's comfort to ask for help or initiate getting professional help. I get it.
The purpose of PHQ is to support young adults (in their 20s and 30s) by:
Providing support and validation through community-building initiatives (e.g., COFFEE-19); and
Simplifying the process for people to seek professional help and other mental health tools they feel they need.
My experience provided me with the tools to empower numerous friends/family and assist them as they navigate challenging times. In turn, they have done the same in their social circles. It's the butterfly effect. The mental health of every
individual is a collective responsibility, and that is why we are here.
At PHQ, we understand how hard emotional challenges can be. There are no hidden costs to utilize these services...we know each person is worth this effort. People did it for us. PHQ is doing it for others. And one day, we hope those people relay the same authentic messages of support and validation.
From our couch to yours,
Jen & Chief