2021 was a tough year. Lasting effects from the pandemic, natural disasters, and America’s mental health crisis have created a multitude of issues for individuals across the country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people suffered bereavements, lost their jobs, and/or experienced financial difficulties. Although the situation is improving thanks to the success of COVID-19 mitigation strategies, millions more people may yet be impacted by the consequences of the pandemic due to the mental health crisis sweeping America.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. More than half a million people have died, more than 20 million people lost their jobs – albeit temporarily for some, and nearly 20 million adults, 9 percent of all adults in the country, reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the last seven days, according to Household Pulse Survey data collected September 29–October 11.
During the height of the pandemic, more than 40% of U.S. employees worked from home, millions of students fell months behind with their education, and it has been forecast tens of thousands of people will suffer serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions due to diagnostic delays.
2021’s Impact on American Mental Health
With so much loss, fear, and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and not forgetting the political and social events that permeated throughout 2021, it is understandable there was a significant deterioration in America’s mental health – which wasn’t in a good place to start with.
According to Mental Health America’s “2022 State of Mental Health in America” report, 24.7% of adults with a mental illness report an unmet need for treatment. It is reported that this statistic has not declined since 2011.
Speaking with CBS News, Paul Gionfriddo – Mental Health America’s President and CEO – described the situation as “a second wave to the physical health wave of the pandemic” and he called on state and local leaders to “rebuild the mental health delivery system so it meets the needs of the people”.
Rave Solutions to Help Address Mental Health Issues
Even before the start of the pandemic, we were discussing how mass communication platforms can be used to manage parent and student anxiety in K-12 schools, and how campus safety apps can support mental health wellbeing courses in colleges and universities and keep students better informed about the Higher Ed mental health resources available to them.
As the pandemic started, we highlighted the need for state and local leaders to provide credible public information and digitalize access and functional needs registries. We also explained the best way for businesses to communicate the what, when, and how of coronavirus to employees and how to conduct remote mental health wellness checks using our coronavirus response solutions kit.
We also didn’t forget about those in the front line who were dealing with America’s deteriorating mental health – demonstrating how technology can better prepare first responders for the mental health crisis, how healthcare facilities can protect staff against mental health burnout, and how law enforcement agencies were partnering with support groups to keep people with mental health issues out of the criminal justice system.
2021 Wasn’t All about Mental Health Issues
Sadly, along with the physical and mental consequences of COVID-19, lockdowns brought other problems. In response to increasing reports of domestic abuse, we suggested how digital access and functional needs registries and safety profiles could ensure abuse survivors are given the appropriate support, while anonymous tip texting services could accelerate emergency response in domestic abuse cases.
During the year, many organizations experienced logistical issues due to remote working during lockdowns, or – as stay-at-home orders were relaxed – with short notice staff absences, supply chain delays, and coping with COVID-19 mitigation strategies such as social distancing in the workplace. There were also issues with customers refusing to comply with stores’ COVID-19 rules.
As the crisis continued, other safety incidents periodically took center stage. There were several incidents of social unrest during the year due to the political atmosphere and racial injustices, while climate change also played its part in “a year to forget” with the worst wildfire season on record and the most active hurricane season on record.
Rave Summit Brings Collaboration and Product Releases
Although the Rave Mobile Safety team has been working remotely throughout the pandemic, it hasn’t stopped us being proactive in supporting clients with their COVID-19 mitigation efforts. In September, the Rave Summit was hosted virtually for the second time and among the dozens of topics discussed we talked about:
- Safety challenges in higher education
- Strategies for healthcare in a post-pandemic world
- Safety and mental health considerations in K12 schools
- Technology trends that impact public safety and security
In October, we re-released the Rave Platform which allows our customers to:
- Find all system functions in a single pane in our new left-side navigation
- Navigate seamlessly between different feature sets
- Access the page you need directly in fewer clicks
- Consistent experience from desktop/laptop to table and mobile
- Navigate easier with updated fonts and page appearance
- Support for all role-based access controls, so admins only see options they have permission to access
Looking Ahead to 2022
At Rave, we plan to do all that we can to keep your communities and organizations safe in 2022. We’re here to offer solutions to your challenges in everything from enhancing 9-1-1 response to delivering critical communications.
If you are not yet a client of Rave Mobile Safety, you are invited to book a demo by clicking on the red button at the top of the page. You can also follow Rave Mobile Safety on Twitter, on Facebook, and on LinkedIn; or, if you would like any further information about any of the topics or products discussed in this blog, do not hesitate to get in touch.