LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / September 23, 2020 / While everyone has faced hardship and made sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic, some have suffered disproportionate impacts. Across the United States, historically underserved communities have faced greater exposure to the virus and have been adversely affected by the pandemic on a much larger scale, leaving many in need of additional support.
As the director of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center for Excellence and chair of the Community Health Committee of the board of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plans, Dr. Cynthia Telles has seen first-hand the individual and community health challenges caused by the pandemic.
"Not only has the C19 pandemic resulted in disproportionate impact on marginalized communities, but it has shed a bright light on the pre-existing disparities and inequities in health care and community health," says Cynthia Telles. "The needs in these communities have never been greater."
While health providers like Kaiser Permanente have found ways to give back through the donation of $28 million dollars in grants to help local communities address COVID-related challenges, there is much that can also be done.
"I am very proud of the work and commitment by Kaiser Permanente to support those often underserved during this unique and devastating health crisis," noted Cynthia Telles. "However, it's not only doctors and health providers who can make a positive impact. Every person has an opportunity to take action to improve the health of individuals and communities in need."
Cynthia Telles suggests that one easy way to support your local community is by checking with local food banks to understand their needs. Food banks have become an even more vital resource as many families suffer with job loss and food insecurity due to the pandemic. Donating food products or money and volunteering to staff pantries in a socially-distant manner are meaningful and impactful ways to help local communities.
In addition to challenges with income and food, many people are also experiencing significant stress and more severe mental health issues exacerbated by the isolation and anxiety brought on by the pandemic and its aftermath. Those with existing mental illnesses may suffer as they lose physical connection to their support systems, and the uncertainty of the times can result in a rise in health-damaging stress.
"From a mental health standpoint, connecting with others in these times of isolation is a great way to help yourself, and support those around you," said Cynthia Telles. "Many volunteer groups have set up phone banks and other tools to reach community members who are isolated. Checking in on your older neighbors from a safe distance can positively influence their mood. Sometimes even little gestures are important."
While it's important to check on those around you, it's also important to encourage them to get professional help if you think the pandemic is impacting them physically and mentally," explained Dr. Cynthia Telles. "Some people may hesitate to seek out medical or mental health care services. Offering encouragement and support may be critical in this difficult time."
For more information, reach out to Andrew Mitchell at Cambridge Global at 404-955-7133.
SOURCE: Cynthia Telles
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