My childhood has been filled with uncles, aunties, grandparents and the extended family. Technically everyone was considered family – the butcher, the baker and even the candlestick maker – everyone was to be addressed as an uncle or an aunt. If we were to be found misbehaving in public – it was the community’s ‘right’ to discipline us.
How much has changed in the 40 years since my existence on this planet. For today we are now encouraged to an isolated way of life. A life of social distancing, a life which encourages that small, tight-knit communities are harmful to the pandemic.
Naturally we are to expect the rising levels of depression, anxiety, PTSD and segregation. For now, speaking to strangers and opening up to welcoming friendships have been covered by masks that hide the beautiful smiles God has given us to what look like an emotionless engagement of guessing the once all-important body language.
Now if loneliness is a feeling of sadness or distress about being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the world around you, what other options are out there as an alternative for an embrace, smile or merely the visit of a loved one?
Community life and engagement can have a positive influence on mental health and emotional wellbeing. Community participation provides a sense of belonging and social connectedness. It can also offer extra meaning and purpose to everyday life.
Although there are many social groups on Facebook etc… if it does not have the genuine consideration for its member it merely becomes a marketing tool for business marketing and advertisement. Take for example, yesterday a lady on the “I Love Houghton” facebook group was requesting someone to adopt her baby… instead of the admin or its members seeing this as a red flag to assist the lady and reach out – the members seemed to have offered lists of NGOs/adoption agencies whilst a good great many merely ignored her.
We are concerned by what our community is becoming… we are concerned that people’s welfare and mental stability at this time would cause for decisions not usually of character.