With respect to the right of individuals to make informed decisions about what’s best for them and their families, I understand that taking the COVID-19 vaccine is a choice. Yes, this is America, the land of the free. However, as leaders, we must lead and do what’s in the best interest of not just one or two families; but all of us. This, too, is American. More so, as behavioral and primary healthcare leaders, we must preserve as many lives as possible. Too many of our patients already have compromised immune systems and an array of preexisting conditions that make them more vulnerable to severe illness and death should they contract COVID-19 or its Delta and Lambda variants.
The safety of thousands of our regional mental health, addiction, developmental disability, and prevention and wellness clients is at risk. At Northeast Delta Human Services Authority, we are equally concerned about our staff, our client’s family members and caregivers, and vendors. The need for our community to get vaccinated can’t be overstated, and it is my sincere hope that individuals become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to help limit their risk of contracting the virus and it mutating any further.
This pandemic increases the level of anxiety and trauma for those already dealing with mental illness, developmental disability, addiction, and primary health challenges. We know how negative social determinants of health interact with and exacerbate COVID-19-related behavioral and primary health challenges. This is another reason I strongly urge the communities we serve to get the vaccine so that we can tackle the challenges we have before us. We are stronger together.
We know how you feel. We understand. The survey we conducted in 2020 told us that you are concerned with having a loved one or household member get COVID-19. We know you are worried about unknowingly giving someone the disease while they showed no symptoms themselves. We also know that many of you have felt increased loneliness, sadness, depression, frustration, irritability, or anger.
As our region moves from response to recovery, Northeast Delta HSA’s Rise Above Stigma outreach model will help play a transformative role. We will offer personalized outreach and services to those struggling with behavioral and primary health issues, various forms of addiction, and developmental disabilities. We will also leverage our integrated healthcare network and include our prevention and wellness assets to serve better youth, seniors, and the community. Additionally, we will soon announce our COVID-19 vaccination strategy to help encourage, provide factual information, and have our pharmaceutical partner efficiently coordinate and administer one of the FDA emergency use authorized COVID-19 vaccines.
“We pride ourselves on being the region’s safety net service provider and trusted source of information. We need to do everything we can to help people remain hopeful and focused on our collective regional response and recovery efforts. Getting as many people vaccinated is part of our role.
And for us to rise like a phoenix, we have to go sleeves back to Louisiana.”
– Dr. Monteic A. Sizer
ABOUT TRANSFORMATIONS BLOG: Transformations is a blog by Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, Northeast Delta Human Services Authority’s executive director. The blog aims to challenge, encourage, and inspire Louisiana citizens and the nation, to think and act differently and pursue the world we seek, rather than the world we have. Dr. Sizer believes citizens and government can work together as creative catalysts to help transform broken people, families, communities, and social systems.
Follow and share the blog each month by visiting http://sidneyj31.sg-host.com/blog/ and following Northeast Delta Human Services Authority on social media. Join this ongoing conversation. Let’s become the change we seek.