Stephanie Gottesman seeks answers on all her questions about the novel coronavirus by interviewing Erika Pitcher from the Allen County Department of Health, Nicki Meier, who is recovering from having COVID-19, and Jenna Shock, a mental health professional.
Is it Blursday yet? I mean, really, does anyone else feel like one day just rolls right into the next? Most of us can connect to the feeling that living through this pandemic has become a blur of uncertainty and tedium. COVID-land is a real place and some parts of it aren’t just a little uncomfortable, they are downright tragic and heartbreaking. We completely get it if you are tired of hearing about COVID-19, and truthfully, we aren’t far behind you. There are so many conflicting bits of information floating around and this social distancing we are being asked to maintain goes against our most basic needs as humans. Host Stephanie Gottesman is back at it again, finding reliable voices to help close that gap of uncertainty. Fair warning, it’s a heavy episode, but one we felt we had to do. We love you all for joining us on these deep dives into some uncomfortable realities and we appreciate YOUR effort to learn and grow with us.
Our first guest is Erika Pitcher, Director of Community Health and Case Management for Allen County Department of Health. Erika worked alongside Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan right up until her retirement a few weeks ago managing Allen County’s response to the COVID crisis. Erika offers information on the precautions we can take, where Allen County stands as far as the growing number of cases are concerned, and suggestions on how we can safely come together and minimize the spread of COVID-19. If you feel you may have COVID you can reach out to the local health department at 260-449-7556. You can also check out their webpage for information on where you can get tested (there are places you can go for FREE testing!) as well as up to date information on numbers of cases, deaths, and the government’s response on the impact the virus is having. As sobering as the numbers are, we hope you are able to find some comfort in these statistics and arm yourself with solid facts to take care of yourself, your loved ones, your community.
After our episode with Nicki Meier last season (Women Are Creating a Culture of Nonviolence) we knew we would want her back as a guest again. We never expected that she would be coming back to us as someone who has lived through and is still recovering from COVID-19. Nicki works for the Center for Nonviolence, supporting people affected by violence in today’s culture and helping create a system that raises the voices of marginalized people. She is a genderqueer feminist, and recently finished teaching her first class at PFW and completed her Master’s of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with a focus in Trauma & Resilience in the Classroom Setting all while fighting through the effects of COVID-19. All of us at Women Are: Fort Wayne are relieved that her case was relatively mild. She wasn’t hospitalized and has made it through the ordeal better than many. She’s here to share her experience as a window into the ways that a mild case of COVID differs from other viral infections we’re more familiar with. Nicki also shares her hope for us to all come together as a community, regardless of race or gender, to take care of each other and recognize where we can lift others up so they can receive the help they need.
This pandemic is taking its toll on more than our physical health, for many of us it is wreaking havoc on our mental health. Our third guest, Jenna Shock, is a Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner at Cameron Psychiatry talking about the mental health impact she’s seeing as a result of the COVID-19 conflict. Jenna sympathetically moves through discussing what many of us are struggling with and offers resources to help those of us who feel mentally beat up by what’s happening in the world around us. If you or someone you love is feeling as though they may be considering self harm you can call 911 and request emergency care CIT officers who have been specifically trained in how to help with a mental health crisis. Another resource is the suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255. Seeking a therapist can be a challenge and Jenna suggests calling 211 to connect with a mental health care provider. This number is available 24/7 and is free, no insurance required. You can also text the word HOME to 741-741 if texting is an easier form of communication. For youth in the LGBTQ community who may be living in untenable situations, The Trevor Project offers help through their website and also text support; text the word START to 678-678 if you are in need of support. We know this pandemic is weighing heavily on many people in various walks of life and we want to say that we see you, we hear you, your life has value and help is available for you.
For the study of mice, isolation, and heroin that Stephanie mentioned in this portion of the episode, you can find that study here.
Stepahnie and Jenna also talk about the “magic” of EDMR therapy. If you are looking for more information on this form of therapy, you can listen to our episode Women Are Mindfully Healing Trauma with LMHC Ruth Fearnow.
Our featured artist is Grace Minnick. Grace currently writes, creates, and performs new songs around Indiana, leading her own band as well as adding harmonies and instrumentation to the Addison Agen Band and the Jenn Cristy Band. Sherecently released a music video for her song “Eyes” from her latest album Mostly Home. She has upcoming performances if you would like to see her perform live. All dates, times and ticket information is available on Bandsintown:
You can find Grace’s music on Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Bandsintown. You should also check out her beautiful website for more images and information about this soulful artist.
Women Are: Fort Wayne is a production of Monstrous Regiment Media and distributed by WBOI in Fort Wayne. Our show is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. This episode was written and produced by Stephanie Gottesman and Traci Henning-Kolberg, and edited by Adam Blackburn.
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