Challenges and Hopes in the COVID era:
For many of us, 2020 was pretty rough, with lots of unpredictability, uncertainty, fears and losses in different shapes and forms all around the world. Not knowing which direction to go and how to keep patients, families, and ourselves safe, was quite a challenge. We all had traumatic experiences at different levels taking care of patients and losing colleagues who were first line responders to COVID.
We all witnessed racial and ethnic disparities, massive unemployment, and protests. As per one of the JAMA articles, “The resurgence of anger at long-standing racism and racial inequities was added to the anxiety and tension of the pandemic, creating a combustible scene of national civil unrest.” There is so much we can talk about in the year 2020, but the good news is that year has concluded.
Changing the calendar is a very traditional and emblematic experience for me every year, learning from the past 12 months and moving on to the next 12 months with new hopes, is a wonderful opportunity to reconstitute the year ahead. As we are all stepping into the new year of 2021, we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
As Psychiatrists, we tend to see things more optimistically. Although the pandemic is still here, and now with the challenge of a more virulent strain and a rise in COVID cases, we are remaining positive (not covid positive ). The KMPA has always been standing upfront for our colleagues and patients’ mental health during this era of COVID. I call the era of COVID, an era of technology. KPMA has been very active and well connected during this phase by utilizing technology.
This year, mental health issues are skyrocketing. There is an increase in severity of existing cases but many more new cases. The increase in mental health issues in medical professionals is directly due to dealing with COVID deaths of their patients, long hours at work, risking their own lives, staying away from their families, etc. However, KPMA has provided colossal support to colleagues. Whether they are practicing inpatient, outpatient, university-based, or community-based practices, the KPMA was able to keep everyone updated with new and crucial changes throughout the year and arranged webinars and weekly meetings for the COVID-19 task force.
KPMA is well aware that the contemporaneous good news of the COVID vaccine being on board and still rising COVID cases has caused conflicting emotions at this point, but we are still optimistic and will continue to provide support to our colleagues for future challenges.
At this point, we do not know how the post vaccine world will look like. We are all aware that we have to be more flexible to the new changes and the improvements.
I would like to share this phrase that I read, “There’s always times when we think we can’t manage another minute, and then we do…..We just keep going.”
Stay safe and healthy!
Best Regards, Sajida Zubi Suleman, MD, DFAPA Vice President, KPMA