calendar May 26, 2021 in Public Health

Empathy: A Pandemic Silver Lining?

In recognition that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Elise Seyfried (Christ’s, Oreland) shares her experience with bipolar disorder at

“As Christians we are called to walk in each other’s shoes, to find common ground, to love and support one another. That isn’t always easy, especially when we struggle to connect emotionally with our neighbor.

“Today I’m noticing an increasing number of people in my network who are experiencing mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and/or panic attacks—many for the first time in their lives. Statistics bear out this impression. In a U.S. tracking poll conducted last July by the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half of respondents reported that their mental health had worsened due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. …

“Maybe it takes a moment such as this one, when we’re facing a massive mental health crisis, to garner widespread empathy for the millions who suffer from mental illness. For those of us who know dread and worry as constant companions, this pandemic has amplified our existing conditions. Others who hadn’t experienced mental health challenges have faced fear and uncertainty. The world has collective trauma, and we’re all searching for ways to cope.

“Where is God in all this? My hope is that after this pandemic ends, mental illness will be better understood and be destigmatized. It turns out that we are much more similar to each other than we thought. Instead of just sympathizing with those who have mental health struggles, we can empathize with them, finally.”

Read the full article at