The Kearney area has mental wellness on the brain. The HealthyMINDS coalition of Buffalo County Community Partners has been meeting weekly during the pandemic to discuss and share community concerns and resources regarding mental wellness.

The HealthyMINDS coalition started discussions in 2016 to find ways to better support our community’s mental well being, as well as break the stigma surrounding mental health. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they felt it was crucial to provide tools to start conversations among friends and family regarding fears, anxieties and concerns about COVID-19. Earlier this summer, HealthyMINDS hosted a Facebook Live virtual community gathering to start the discussion on coping during these uncertain times of Covid-19.

The success of these virtual community gatherings has ignited a passion in this group. HealthyMINDS now is providing a video series of “Chats” about important mental health topics affecting our community in light of COVID-19. The first topic of their series is Coping Through COVID Fatigue.

COVD-19 has brought a lot of changes to the world. Not only change, but it has also been accompanied with uncertainty and loneliness.

“I think we are all tired. We’re all exhausted. We don’t like to be isolated from our friends, families, from the work we do, and it has all worn on us mentally where I think we are all fatigued,” said Dr. Shaffer in their first video of their upcoming series. In an effort to combat fatigue, the participants define resiliency.

“Resiliency is not a trait that someone either has or doesn’t have, really anyone can build their resiliency,” said Jesica Vickers, Director at Center for Psychological Services.

Vickers gives a few examples of how to make resiliency a part of everyday life. Vickers describes that selfcare is in an important tool to use to build resiliency. The lack of control that people have experienced can cause people to lash out in ways they wouldn’t have normally.

“It can lead to judgmental thoughts, it can lead to impulsiveness, it can lead to very reactive things that we might do, but isn’t really something that we would typically do,” said Vickers.

Janelle Brock, Social Worker at Nebraska Veterans Affairs, Hayley Jelinek, South Central Area Agency on Aging and Disability Resource, and Jamie Legates, Families Care, led a discussion about gratitude and empathy.

“Every day every one of us, no matter what position we are in, have to make a decision on what we are going to be like that day. For me, thinking about what I am grateful for in my life helps me reposition my thinking.” said Jelinek.

Being empathetic and intentional in your everyday life can be great coping tools for COVID fatigue. “Having conversations like this lighten my load and help me to feel hopeful,” said Fritson.

Watch the full first segment of the series on the Buffalo County Community Partner’s Facebook Page: Keep watching the page every other Saturday for new mental wellness chats.

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