July 23, 2020
By Jessica Mathews/News@whmi.com
A new social media campaign aims to support community health and wellness while keeping people connected during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Livingston COMMUNITY PREVENTION Project is a collaborative of three agencies that include Karen Bergbower & Associates, Key Development Center and Livingston County Catholic Charities. It provides substance abuse prevention services and programs throughout the community to raise awareness about alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
The #Checkon5Livingston challenge is being promoted on social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. People are first encouraged to check on five people they care about whether to say hello, check on their mental health or catch up whether it be a text, phone call or email. Next the person shares five healthy things they’re doing to bring them happiness or promote their own mental wellness such as gardening, walking, cooking or healthy things someone is doing to occupy themselves rather than drinking or using drugs. That is said to give others an opportunity to try new activities that could bring them happiness. Lastly, the person nominates five people to keep the challenge going.
Prevention Specialist Caitlin Clark tells WHMI they’re looking to bring the community together during this unknown time and this is a tool to check on others. Clark commented people have darker days sometimes – especially during a quarantine and staying home and some people aren’t back to work yet. She says the challenge gives people a reason to check on certain friends that they might not have otherwise. She says someone could be having a tough day and not be in the mood to reach out to somebody but on those days when someone reaches out to you, it really does mean that much more. Clark says they’re just trying to encourage people to be supportive and work together in getting through everything.
Livingston County Catholic Charities Director for Prevention Services and Community Alliance Coordinator Megan Palmer told WHMI there has been a big spike in alcohol sales since COVID-19 started in the state and across the nation. Anecdotally, across the many partners they work with in Livingston County, Palmer says there has been an increase in clients who have been in recovery or sober from addiction but have relapsed because of the unusual times COVID-19 has brought. Palmer commented there are different resources and support available locally, including tele-health groups via online platforms. She says the transition from an in-person group to online has been difficult though for some people. Palmer said also some people have been working from home via online platforms and get really fatigued so having to do another online platform is sometimes difficult. Despite the increased usage of alcohol or drugs, Clark says on a positive note, they’ve also seen a lot of people in that population who might be struggling but are seeking treatment.
More information about the Prevention Project and #Checkon5Livingston can be found through the provided link.