Connecting with people who need it most

Courtesy Greene County Government website

Greene County launched a Take 5 for NY initiative last week encouraging residents to take five minutes out of each day to call a friend, loved one or acquaintance who may be alone and feeling isolated during this time of social distancing.

The initiative is part of a statewide effort promoted by the New York State Association of Counties.

“Participating county officials are calling on their residents to take just five minutes of every day to call on a loved one, friend, neighbor, acquaintance to say hi, check on them, see if they need anything, lift their spirits, and tell them they are not alone,” Association Executive Director Stephen Acquario said. “It doesn’t matter what you talk about. You can talk about this crisis or the latest show you are watching. The point is connecting with people in our community who could use it the most.”

With social gatherings suspended by the state of emergency order, many have opted to meet online.

Area mental health services, such as the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, continue to provide resources and have licensed professionals available to residents.

While offices are closed, therapists are holding sessions over the phone or on web-based telehealth platforms.

People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control recommended.

The Mental Health Association recommends following the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations on taking care of one self and one’s community. One of the recommendations is to connect with others.

While people should refrain from visiting others, especially vulnerable populations, the CDC recommends checking in with loved ones often via phone, email, mail, text, video chat and social media.

“Social isolation can certainly exacerbate symptoms of existing mental health issues, including anxiety and depression which can be part of, or lead to disturbances in sleep, appetite and thought processing, just to name a few examples,” Julianne Baumann, program director and clinician with the Mental Health Association, said. “Social isolation has also been linked to physical illness as well. Add that to disruptions in your routine, the uncertainty of length and duration of the executive orders and recommendations made in regards to COVID-19 precautions, and loss of community support and resources, it is very important to reach out to people in a safe way.”

Baumann said coping with loneliness can be difficult, acknowledging feelings is important, and individuals have every right to feel lonely, scared and sad.

“Try to have a plan to reach out to someone or practice coping methods that work for you to help alleviate these feelings and create some calm and peace,” Baumann said. “A small gesture can be a lifeline for someone.”

For those in need of a daily check-in while practicing social distancing, Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett said Friday his department has established a new hotline.

It is for “the elderly and vulnerable in our county, including those with medical conditions or are disabled,” Bartlett said.

Participants in the program would have a deputy check daily on their well-being.

The number for the hotline is 518-828-0601, extension 1400. Bartlett said callers should leave a message.

“A time frame, morning or afternoon, will be established for when you would like the deputy to come to your residence,” Bartlett said. “When the deputy comes by, he or she will knock on the door, then retreat to a safe distance and wait for someone to signal that all is well inside.”

Abby Hoover is a reporter for Columbia-Greene Media. Contact her at

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

(3) comments



Sadly, perhaps,

We are alone.


It’s what we craved when we left England,

Perhaps when we left Africa,


Or Kazakhstan,

where Native Americans came from.

We don’t worship our President,

As England was told to

when King Henry VIII

took over the Church of England.

Oh no!

Introversion and Extroversion,

in balance.

We aren’t social distancing,

we’re physically distancing.

The virus is an RNA capsule.

It wants us to host it’s mission.

But, our mission is the same.

We want contact.

Call it physical love.

Nature is that way all the time.

Languages languages languages.

6,500 in the world today.

Why so many?

Cultures cultures cultures.

Why so many?

Why are there 925,000 species of insects?

Why are there 320,000 species of plants?

Most produce seeds.

Why so many?

How did Picasso make nearly 50,000 pieces of art?

How did Van Gogh make over 2,000 pieces of art,

and only sold one?

What is the nature of Nature?

We are physically distant now.

We are each more sovereign than before.

No church, no choir, no meetings in person.

Vegetarians can’t go to meatings anyway.

Jung noticed that we ARE connected,

a collective unconscious.

Sovereignty is not a luxury,

it IS brutal.

Hope and faith might be illusions.

Pema Chöndrön suggests these harm insight.

And there’s physical love,

which currently we’re deprived of.

No hugs.

No kisses.

No exchange of bodily fluids.

No and no and no.

We are left with Agape love.

Said to be the highest form of love.

It’s not to be confused with self-love,

or even brotherly love.

Not Eros, which is sexual.

And here we are.


But connected.

(c) 2020, Scott Myers

all writes preserved


The phrase social distancing is an error, it's physical distancing.


A very good idea.

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