Dear Community Partners:

As an integrated healthcare provider, Axis Health System designs our care to see the “whole person.” In this work, we know that a patient’s needs are unique and change over time. An integrated perspective can also be applied to the pandemic. We must consider the emotional toll of what we have been through, both individually and collectively. This is essential to ensure our physical health and our emotional well-being as we continue to find our way forward through COVID-19.

The connection between the virus containment efforts, the surveillance activities and the vaccine distribution and administration are all designed to provide physical safety as we work toward the desired herd immunity.  At the same time, it is important to recognize that increased isolation, anxiety, depression and substance use are very real consequences of surviving and living through this pandemic.

Social distancing, mask wearing, washing your hands…are all understood to make a difference in the physical spread of the virus. What isn’t being talked about as much is how to better foster compassion and empathy for our friends, families, neighbors or ourselves in these trying times. Do we truly know that we are not alone in our fatigue and frustration, and that our ability to cope sometimes needs to be restored and/or recharged?  Are we comfortable confiding in someone we trust, or are we willing to ask for outside help?

There have been so many new experiences and adjustments we have all made that we may find it harder to emotionally adapt, or we may simply feel more fragile than we are used to feeling. There are a variety of resources that include: meditation, exercise, informal support systems, formal support groups and behavioral health professionals, or any combination of these that may be helpful for a resiliency “re-charge.” Recognizing when we need new, different or more of these kind of supports is just as important for our overall health as the physical safeguards we have adopted.

It’s important to have an integrated view of what it takes to be healthy and safe as we all make our way through this pandemic. Honestly assessing what is an effective resiliency “re-charge” and taking care of our behavioral health should also be part of the solution.

Stay healthy… stay safe… stay well.

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Shelly Burke, Chief Executive Officer of Axis Health System

P.S. If you or someone in your circle is struggling or could use some support, please call the Axis 24/7 Care Line at 970.247.5245 to speak to a professional 24hrs a day/7 days a week.