By Apostle Dr. Edna Perkins
On a cloudy day, it is hard to remember that the sun is standing tall and steady behind the clouds. But the sun still stands, as it always has and always will. So what are we to do in times like these? Times in which we know in our hearts that brighter days are ahead, but feel in our thoughts excruciating loneliness and devastation that such days may be so far off as to render them inaccessible?
Take time out of your busy schedule to renew your thinking. Although staying at home can be challenging for your creativity, you can fight your lack of enthusiasm and weariness. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. Creating unattainable expectations or burning yourself out can add to your stress.
Here are a few suggestions:
Work On A Project – Spend time doing what you have been longing to do. It may be reading, writing, knitting, decluttering, painting — whatever you enjoy.
Cooking – It can be an opportunity to meal plan some healthy dishes using what you have available at home.
Taking Time To Move Around – There are exercise programs that are free online. Many programs have apps that can be downloaded onto your devices. Check with your doctor for approval before starting any exercise program.
Meditating – Meditation and breathing exercises can help slow your heart rate down and clear your mind. When done regularly, it can shield the mind from the effects of stress. It can also help support your immune system. Just five minutes of meditation each day can help you reset your mind and your perspective.
Being Grateful – Take a minute every day to be grateful for something. It helps to renew our mind when we think about what we have, instead of our losses.
Showing Kindness To Others – During this time of unprecedented uncertainties, you can do small things like picking up groceries; donating food to someone in need; sending an encouraging text, card, or letter to someone to let them know you are thinking of them.
Taking A Brain Break – Give your mind a break by not posting your self-care routines on social media. Taking advantage of the freedom from these outlets
can be empowering.
Mind renewal is a means in which our lives can be transformed. It can be accomplished.
Ted Lampkin: Rising to Meet the Challenge
Charles Drew Health Center
Growing up down the street from Charles Drew Health Center, Inc., it was no question for Ted Lampkin to give back to the community that helped raise him.
“I’m passionate about public health because I am a product of public health services. Coming up, my family and I used the services at Charles Drew.”
As the Associate Director of Behavioral Health Services, Ted has been on the front-line teaching and training team members in new approaches to behavioral health. It’s no surprise that when COVID-19 struck, Ted was front and center.
“My role was to help transition the Behavioral Health department from doing face-to-face therapy to telehealth therapy.”
While COVID-19 began to escalate, increasing evidence highlighted racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
“We made it easy for the patients, providing traditional face-to-face, telehealth, and when needed telephonic sessions. A lot of patients had anxiety about COVID-19 and being in the middle of a pandemic, in addition to their other stressers.”
“The benefit of telehealth is we can continue to provide quality service during a pandemic. You take out the barriers to care with telehealth.”
Brenda Avant: Providing Quality Healthcare in the Midst of COVID-19
Charles Drew Health Center
As a North Omaha native, Family Nurse Practitioner, Brenda Avant, understands educating her patients about their healthcare choices is a foundational principle to accessing safe and quality healthcare.
When the pandemic shut down Omaha metro schools, Brenda and the team members at Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. School-based Health Centers had to switch gears. While still providing in-person care, the SBHC Medical providers began utilizing telehealth to remain in contact with their patients.
“The telehealth program at Charles Drew really grew at that time. As Medical providers, we were able to continue serving our student patients through telehealth. The parents really enjoyed it because they felt even through a pandemic their child’s provider is still in tune with their needs.”
As the pandemic surged, the healthcare inequalities within the American health system began to come to the foreground. “It made me proud to see that Charles Drew was a front runner in COVID-19. The community was looking to us to help guide them through.”
“Charles Drew made it very easy for the population we serve to continue receiving care. We may be small, but we are mighty.”
Larry Duncan: Resiliency in the Face of a Crisis
Charles Drew Health Center
Hailing from the south side of Chicago, Larry Duncan, Director of Behavioral Health Services at Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. has always had a passion for helping others. “My passion, at first, started off with a drug and alcohol emphasis based on my own experiences and knowledge. As I grew and received more education, mental health became the next umbrella. It rests with my understanding that there are unique issues that affect black and brown people, and people who are marginalized.”
Within the first year serving at Charles Drew, Larry faced his biggest challenge yet, leading a team while in the mists of coronavirus. “The number one thing we did quickly was become active.” As COVID-19 began to highlight the care gaps within marginalized communities, the Behavioral Health team at Charles Drew looked to bridge those gaps within the community.
“For our population it was a dual threat. On one side of the coin, the crisis becomes an additional stress to a population of people who already live with stress. On the flip side of the coin, the lack of community and social interaction increased depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness.”
The message was simple, but practical: Practice the Five Cs–Connection, Commitment, Communion, Contain, and Continue.
Looking back, one of the greatest strengths of Charles Drew, in Larry’s eyes, was the ability to remain active. While most were waiting, frozen in their activity, Charles Drew advanced forward.
“We got better and better at it. We were doing testing on the front line when testing was just starting. As masks began to be required, we were handing them out to the community members in need. Whatever needed to be done in the face of this virus, we did it.”