The COVID-19 pandemic, resulting economic recession, protests for racial and cultural equality, an incredibly divisive election cycle, wildfires, hurricanes, and more have made 2020 one of the most difficult and stressful years ever.

For community association board members and managers, all of these events have made a tough job even tougher. Homeowners have put more pressure than usual on community association leadership, questioning every decision, and voicing their complaints and frustrations as they spend more time at home.

All of this adds up. The mental toll is real.

A tracking poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in mid-July found that 53% of adults in the U.S. reported that their mental health was negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. This is significantly higher than the 32% reported in March.

Many adults also are reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and well-being, such as difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%) due to higher distress from COVID-19.

Kaiser reports that, as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, ongoing and necessary public health measures expose many people to experiencing situations linked to poor mental health outcomes, such as isolation and job loss. Fifty-eight percent of households where someone lost their job or income reported a higher negative impact on their mental health from stress or worries over COVID-19 compared to 50% of households where income and job status were unaffected.

It’s normal to be feeling anxious, nervous, or sad, but it’s important to take care of yourself. Mental health experts recommend a daily self-check, staying physically active, focusing on the good things in your life, connecting with family and friends, channeling your emotions into a positive change, living in the moment, and knowing when you need help. Check the National Alliance on Mental Illness at www.nami.org for support services and treatment options.

Board members and managers are projecting calm and resilience, and they’re relying on their expertise—and that of their professional partners—to get them through these unprecedented times.

Help is right outside your door too. Your neighbors are facing many of the same things as you. You are not alone.

So, keep calm and community on. Brighter days are ahead.

>>Read more on the strategies community association leaders are using to stay resilient in “Challenge Accepted,” from the November/December 2020 issue of Common Ground magazine.

Daniel Brannigan

Daniel Brannigan

Daniel Brannigan is CAI's Director of Publishing and Managing Editor of Common Ground™ magazine. He has been editor of CAI's flagship publication since 2010 and previously edited CAI's newsletters Community Manager, Minutes, and Law Reporter. Daniel has helped guide Common Ground to awards for feature article design and single-topic issue from Association Media & Publishing's EXCEL Awards. Community Manager picked up six awards for general excellence and newswriting under Daniel's guidance from 2007-2010. A former reporter, Daniel is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, daughter, pug, and cat.

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