AltaPointe Health provides help to cope with COVID-19 grief

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COVID-19 has disrupted our lives, from missed milestones to faded friendships. AltaPointe Health wants you to know it is okay to grieve these losses.

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We can get some beautiful things out of the ugly parts of life.

By definition, the word grief means deep and poignant distress. Often, we associate grief with only death, but grief is a natural response to anything or person that we find value in and that we lose. It can be something close to us, whether it is a job, friendships, social connections, and the loss of a loved one. COVID-19 has upended lives from missed milestones to faded friendships. AltaPointe wants you to know it is ok to grieve.

Japonica Bryant, AltaPointe Health crisis and hospital coordination specialist, shares tips on coping with pandemic grief.

Is it silly to grieve a way of life?

No. I feel like we try to rationalize grief many times, and it is not a rational thing. We have to experience it, so when we grieve and have this grieving process, it is about saying this is how I feel and my feelings are valid even if they are small to other people. I feel a disconnect from my friends. I feel a disconnect from weddings and the things we use to do. We used to go out into the world without a mask on, so I am grieving social connections. It is not dumb. It is grieving the loss you are experiencing from that thing.

How can I cope with grief?

We teach each other to cope with grief by allowing one another to talk about our feelings. If you do not have someone to talk to, I encourage you to journal and be intentional about your grief and how you feel. Find a friend you can talk to if you do not like to write and communicate with someone, anyone. I do not care if it is a co-worker or even yourself. I know that sounds strange, but sometimes I can talk myself through the feeling I am experiencing at the time. Another thing is to meditate, concentrate on the silence. Again, the key is to be intentional about your grief and how you process it.

What can we learn from grief?

Yes. Grief allows us to be different people while still holding on to how we felt in our past and doing things we could normally do, such as gathering for holidays and shopping without wearing a mask.

I know many people have lost jobs during this COVID season, and with that, we sometimes identify ourselves with what we do in life. If you look at that like I lost my job, I lost everything; then we will get stuck there. I lost my job, and I feel sad because I did, but now, I get to try this new thing I have always wanted to do and watch that unfold into something beautiful. We can get some beautiful things out of the ugly parts of life.

Coping with COVID grief featuring Japonica Bryant

AltaPointe Health is Alabama’s largest and most comprehensive health and human services organization and psychiatric hospital system. It is the second largest in the southeastern US serving Mobile, Baldwin, and Washington counties in south Alabama and Clay, Coosa, Randolph, and Talladega counties to the north. AltaPointe has been and continues to be the catalyst in transforming mental health into the mainstream of integrated healthcare in our region. AltaPointe operates four Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHC) in Alabama, Accordia Health. It collaborates with educational, law enforcement, and other healthcare and community-based mental health partners to create more services and make them more accessible to those who need them the most.

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April Douglas
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