While our country (and the world) has had a rare opportunity to band together through our common disaster, the pandemic has emphasised fault lines in our societies. People who feel secure enough to visit restaurants and other places are criticised by those who don’t, who are equally scathing of their less risk-averse counterparts.
Scientists are ridiculed by people whose qualifications are limited to what they watched on YouTube, and the only people more vocal than conspiracy theorists are denialists. In the midst of this chaos, one thing remains true: almost all of our behaviours are driven by fear. And it would be so much easier to handle if we were to be a little more tolerant of each other’s views. With that in mind, we would love for you to read these words from Suicide Prevention Bristol – a reminder to bear in mind that we are all viewing this crisis from a different perspective.
Working parents want kids to go back to school because school closures directly impact them.
Teachers don’t want schools to open because covid spreading round their school directly impacts them.
Healthcare staff want a full lockdown because sick covid patients directly impact them.
Business owners want to carry on as normal because lockdown directly impacts them.
People with physical health problems want everyone to stay socially distant because catching covid could kill them.
People with mental health problems want people to spend time with because isolation could kill them.
Some can’t wait for a vaccine because they believe it will bring back some normality. Some are terrified of a vaccine because they believe it could harm them.
We are all going through this, but none of us is going through the same thing. Some face crippling financial challenges; others face heartbreak. We don’t all have to agree with what is best because what’s best for us won’t be best for everyone. We don’t have to understand what others are going through. But we do need to stick together and keep loving each other no matter our differences.
We need to be mindful when some things go the way we want it to; it could be terrible news to another person.
We need to be kind. Always.