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A Year Into COVID, How Are We Coping?

How has COVID – and the political and societal turmoil of the past year – affected our mental health?  And how are we coping? (Our discussion applies generally, with particular attention to LGBTQ aspects.)

Live entertainment, restaurants, bars, other businesses, schools, community centers and other gathering spots have been mostly closed over a year now, severely limiting our social connections – especially in-person interactions. Many of us have lost income, homes or both; some have lost loved ones.

All this on top of four years of anti-queer politics by our last federal administration, an incredibly divisive national election, an attack on the US Capitol, a long overdue reckoning with our country’s racist violence and policies, and here in the West, intense wildfires – remember the eerie orange day last year when we never saw the sun?

With vaccinations increasing and case numbers dropping here in California — at the moment — it seems the worst of COVID is over. But with troubling virus variants and vaccines not fully proven, some health experts predict restrictions and mask mandates will continue much of this year. 

It’s no wonder so many of us feel anxious and depressed. On this week’s Out in the Bay, a community assessment and coping tips from two professional therapists:

Chelsea DeMarte (she, her, hers) is a licensed psychotherapist based in Oakland who specializes in working with the LGBTQ+ community. Her work is trauma informed, integrates a social justice lens, and honors the mind/body/spirit connection. She has been practicing for over 15 years, and is the current Co-President of Gaylesta, the Psychotherapist Association for Gender & Sexual Diversity. www.ChelseaDeMarteMFT.com

Ryan Horvath, LMFT (pronouns: he, him, his) is an Oakland-based licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (license number LMFT50003) working with the LGBTQ+ community as well as providing counseling to those who are struggling with the loss of a pet. www.RyanHorvathMFT.com