Let’s say it like it was: 2020 was miserable. It was a horrid year for us all. Everyone — everyone — was affected to one degree or another by the coronavirus pandemic, which washed over us like a merciless tidal wave, leaving fear, anxiety and death in its wake.
The speed at which the virus swept across the land was stunning, leaving us feeling helpless against a viral invader.
Nearly 4,700 people have died of Covid-19 in Nassau and Suffolk counties — and an estimated 25,000 in New York City — since the coronavirus broke out in the greater metropolitan area in March, bringing grief to hundreds of thousands of lives here.
On top of those terrible — and terrifying — statistics, Long Island lost more than 100,000 private-sector jobs from November 2019 to November 2020, an 8.8 percent decline, according to the New York State Department of Labor. The biggest losses came in hospitality, 35,800 jobs; education and health services, 23,600; trade, transportation and utilities, 15,000; professional and business services, 10,000; and manufacturing, 8,000.
There is help available, however. If you are feeling anxious, depressed or suicidal, regardless of the reason, you can — you should — check out the state Office of Mental Health website, where you will find numerous resources to turn to for help.
There you will find the NY Thankful project, for which you are asked to write messages about all that you are thankful for. The very act of writing down all that is good in your life, it seems, helps relieve stress and anxiety. We suggest that you try it — if not on a state website, then on your own.
Also listed on the site are the phone numbers of numerous agencies you can call to talk it out, whatever the issue might be. Call if you need to. There has, in the past, been a stigma associated with seeking help with mental health crises. That should never have been the case. Mental health is crucial to your well-being.
If you think about it, you also realize that your mental health is connected to everyone else’s. What the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated, in certain terms, is that we are all interconnected in a larger societal web. So — please — seek help if you need it.
If you make any New Year’s resolution, let it be that you will take care of yourself in 2021 — both your physical and mental well-being.
Mental health resources
• NY Project Hope Emotional Support Helpline: (844) 863-9314
• Long Island Crisis Center Hotline: (516) 679-1111
• National Suicide Prevention Hotline: (800) 273-8255
• New York State Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 942-6906
• Crisis Text Line: Text Got5 to 741-741
• For front-line workers, text FRONTLINENY to 741-741
Signs of suicide
• Wanting to die.
• Feeling guilt or shame.
• Being a burden to others.
• Empty, hopeless, trapped.
• Extremely sad, anxious, agitated or rageful.
• Unbearable emotional or physical pain.
Changing behavior, such as:
• Making a plan or researching ways to die.
• Withdrawing from friends, saying goodbye and giving away important belongings.
• Taking dangerous risks.
• Displaying extreme mood swings.
• Eating or sleeping more or less.
• Using drugs and alcohol.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health