The Montfort Group

Societal Changes and Mental Health

September 11 is a daunting day for those across the nation after terrorist attacks rocked our world on this day 19 years ago. I had no idea at that young age, what societal changes would occur how they would affect our mental health. I remember where I was standing when I caught wind of what happened in New York City. I was at school when an announcement came overhead:  “parents will be coming to take their children home for the remainder of the day.” At first, I felt excited. A free day? Then I caught myself wondering, how will my parents get me, they both work?

I think back and try to remember all that I can, but part of me stayed shielded due to my elementary school age. Developmentally, my brain could not fully understand the magnitude of what was happening. However, research shows that certain facial expressions, such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are universal. I could see it. The fear in everyone’s eyes; the confusion and havoc ensuing amongst the teachers, administrators, and other staff. 

Shared Uncertainty

Suddenly, I felt an overwhelming sense of insecurity as I watched the people who cared for us regularly, be so unsure of our safety and theirs.  Once I began noticing these non-verbal cues, I played back that overhead voice in my mind and I could hear it too; the uncertainty. It was then, that I could feel the fear run all the way through my fingertips. 

I reflect on my life thus far and I can think back to two events that catastrophically changed my history to date: 9/11 and COVID-19. In one instance, it felt as if the nation came together as one; a unified force. In another, I see a country divided. In one, airport security changed; abruptly, we had to walk through metal detectors, measure the liquids in our luggage, take off our shoes, belts, and jewelry and say goodbye to our loved ones prior to reaching the security checkpoint. In another, we have become isolated in our homes as the cases grow to be thousands and then hundreds of thousands. Societal changes are underway, once again.

Reflection

Both invoked fear and anxiety, and could be deemed unprecedented times as predictability was wiped away from our lives. While these events appear different on paper, research suggests that long lasting effects on the human race will look alike. Increased rates of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse amongst survivors, victims’ families, and essential workers will rise. We all know someone who knows someone, maybe we are that someone, or a family member is the essential worker or the victim and/or survivor in one of these scenarios. What i’m saying is, both of these events affect everyone at SOME level because of the societal changes we are experiencing together. Even the elementary school girl who hardly had a clue what was happening in our world. To this day, on that day, I cry. 

Check-in With Yourself

I encourage you to check-in with yourself during this time. I say that I am okay and I continue to accomplish the tasks that I am “supposed to do” each day. So, I must be okay, right? Yet the world looks wildly different than it ever has before. Heck, you have to grab a mask before you leave your house each day (or maybe grab it from your vehicle before going inside). Are you okay? We can help guide you through this difficult time. Contact me at The Montfort Group to schedule an appointment.  

 

Courtney Strull, MS, LPC

Courtney Strull, MS, LPC

I attended The University of Texas in Austin where I majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. During my undergraduate coursework, I did research under Dr. Rebecca Bigler, where I studied gender and racial attitudes among children. Upon competition of my undergraduate degree, I moved to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University’s Master of Science in Counseling program and completed all the training to become a Licensed Professional Counselor.

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