In keeping with the last post, I decided to reach out to our 2020 Symposium Speakers and ask them to offer words of encouragement or strategies that the first responder community can implement during this pandemic. Here is something speaker Kasey Franco shared from the National Alliance On Mental Illness – Chicago:
To our strong community,
Powerlessness is scary. Feeling like we have lost control and not knowing what the next minute holds is unsettling and uncomfortable. We want concrete answers. We want next steps. But in this situation, we don’t have them.
We often hear from people that they feel alone in their feelings. We can confidently say, you are not. We are all feeling different levels of the same fear and insecurity. You are not alone and your discomfort is normal.
Even in facing uncertainty, know that this moment is not forever. It is a long and powerful moment — but it is not forever. Sitting in discomfort is hard, especially when we aren’t used to it. This crisis asks so much of you, but remember that you are strong. There are ways to get through this and we can help.
More than ever, we need connection. Connection is the glue of our community, and community gives us the strength to push through fear and hopelessness. Consider that even as you are comforted by others, you are comforting them. Connection fuels us and heals us. We should be thinking about connection as much as we think about washing our hands. When we begin to isolate, when we are overwhelmed, when we are depressed, remember to reach out.
And community, remember to lean in, metaphorically of course. When we do good for others and when we find compassion, we know that we feel better and more connected.
Being alone physically doesn’t have to mean being alone emotionally. Video calls, text chats, social media messaging, and the good old fashioned phone conversation can safely bridge this necessary physical social distancing to replace our silent anxiety with comforting words and pleasant laughter.
So call that family member. Send a meal to a friend. Write a warm email to your coworker. Read a book with your children. If there’s a time to call on our strength, it’s now. Remember that NAMI Chicago is always here.
NAMI Chicago’s Helpline is open, taking calls, and honored to be the number you dial for support. We are ready to step up for you and for this community. We are carefully tracking national, state, and city updates. Contact us for a reliable source of information and for a listening ear.
Know this: You are loved, you are valued and your compassion for others is so critically important now.
So breathe, take a shower, get up and move. Make a schedule for yourself and give yourself time to relax your thoughts that may be overcome with worry. You have a home in our hearts at NAMI Chicago, and we are here when you need us.
Executive Director, NAMI Chicago
You can reach the NAMI Chicago Helpline 7 days a week at
(833) NAMI-CHI / (833) 626-4244.