The New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program
Is Here for Your Well-Being - Weekly Email #3
NJLAP is reaching out to New Jersey attorneys to let you know that we are here for you during this COVID19 emergency. Although our offices are closed, staff is working from home, and you can reach us at 800-246-5527. We also are posting updated information on this special page, and on our Facebook page, which is linked at the bottom portion of our homepage.
In addition, we will be sending out these weekly emails, with new article and links to provide supportive and helpful information. See below for this edition.
In this issue:
- Is loneliness the newest health hazard? Has social distancing made this issue worse? What can you do to fight loneliness?
- It is not too late to register for NJLAP's Webinar about resilience during this time of high stress. Register at the link below.
- We have also created a List of Resource Links, for helpful information on Recovery and Mental health, in a categorized list.
If you are reading this online or a friend has shared with you, you can subscribe to our Balance e-newsletter to get future editions directly. After this emergency is over, Balance will return to a quarterly schedule.
NJLAP Presents "Coping With COVID with Resilience" with Anita McLean, Ph.D., Psy.D.
We are all adjusting to a new reality with a real threat at our doorstep. While we are all facing the same fears, we will respond in different ways. The more resilient we can be in this moment, the more we can protect the mental and physical health of ourselves and our families. This webinar is an opportunity to share our collective wisdom for getting through this together as well as possible, and positioning ourselves for the recover that will come.
Dr. Anita McLean is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Princeton, NJ. She has provided individual and couples therapy for over 20 years and has been engaged in training mental health clinicians and agencies as well as other service agencies on issues of cultural competency and diversity. She also provides outreach programming in the community on various topics on mental health and has worked with NJLAP to provide seminars in the women's group for several years. She obtained a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University and was subsequently a supervisor and visiting faculty member there for several years. She also worked at Princeton University Counseling and Psychological Services as the Director, and at Rutgers University in the Counseling Service, as a senior staff psychologist. More information about Dr McLean and her practice is available on her website, on Psychology Today.
To register for this webinar you must go to this link on the NJSBA site.
To submit a question for Dr. McLean in advance, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: This webinar will be recorded, and will be made publicly available along with other webinars recorded by the NJSBA. NJSBA does change the default file name for recorded webinars and does not store the file in unsecured cloud storage. Think of ZOOM webinars in the same category as email and conference calls, protected by industry standard methods, but not a guarantee of confidentiality. For more information about using ZOOM safely, read this information provided by the NJSBA.
Loneliness: A Looming Health Hazard
Those of us at a certain age might remember the Elvis Presley version of “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” the popular tune written way back in 1926 by Roy Turk and Lou Handman. The lyrics, written almost a century ago, are very relevant today, and contain the line “Are you sorry we drifted apart?” During this unprecedented event of separateness and isolation, should this be the time in our lives when we connect with those in our past from whom we drifted?
Do you remember your life B.C. (Before COVID19)? How many times did you say to yourself “I’ve got to connect with ‘so-and-so’, it’s been much too long since we’ve spoken”? Within a nanosecond the thought of connecting becomes a distant memory, replaced by the numerous daily demands on our lives.
We’re all aware of the daily death tolls from this “novel” virus, especially among the more vulnerable populations: the elderly and those with pre-existing diseases. What about the lonely? Isolation has created a particularly perilous situation for people who live alone. Research has shown that loneliness can be a killer.
Some experts claim that loneliness is a growing health epidemic, despite the expansion of technology-based connections. A 2018 study reported by Douglas Nemecek, M.D., Cigna’s Chief Medical Officer for Behavioral Health, suggested the problem has reached “epidemic” proportions, rivaling the risks posed by tobacco and obesity. “Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day making it even more dangerous than obesity,” he reported.
A recent story in Harvard Business Review quoted former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., who said, “Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.”
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., a psychologist at Brigham Young University who studies loneliness and its health effect, has found loneliness makes premature death more likely for people of all ages.
The novel COVID19 virus epidemic has exacerbated the loneliness of those who may be alone. Adult children can’t connect with elderly parents; grandparents can’t connect with grandchildren; friends are missing friends. Perhaps this is the time to re-connect with those we have missed for far too long. However you are inclined to do so, whether by FaceTime, ZOOM, phone, letters, virtual hugs & kisses, whatever, don’t hesitate to make those long-overdue connections.
Long ago, but very relevant today, metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631) crystallized the need for human connection and reminds us, in part: “No man is an island entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
The song’s lyrics go on. “Does your memory stray to a bright summer day?” Reach out to those you’ve been thinking about. Help them, and yourself, to overcome the loneliness. Now, more than ever, is the time to reconnect and plan for brighter days.
- Paula Sawyer, Senior Attorney Counselor, NJ Lawyers Assistance Program
Loneliness Plagues Half of Adults
Work and the Loneliness Epidemic
Julianne Holt-Lunstad probes loneliness, social connections