September is National Recovery Month as well as National Suicide Prevention Month. September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Resources are available at: https://www.recoverymonth.gov/ - https://www.nami.org/get-involved/awareness-events/suicide-prevention-awareness-month If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.
Many people saw in horror the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading over the country in multiple waves reaching grim milestones of tens of thousands of deaths. Wisconsin continues to have one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in the country, with over 1,000 infections counted for several days in a row. There is plenty of blame to go around, from disinformation and propaganda from the White House, to conspiracies and myths spread on Facebook. These stories have resulted in the public not wearing masks and not social distancing. Nowhere is this more apparent and flouted than at the nation's bars and restaurants. The toll on those who work in food and beverage services has been immense. This situation has been terrible not only for those who work in restaurants and bars, but of course also for musicians and entertainers. It is possible that up to one half of all craft breweries will close. Many of Madison's bars have had to close temporarily, and at least one, the HopCat, has closed permanently. Madison has passed an emergency order to keep many bars and restaurants in business by allowing outdoor seating. Recently, the UW Madison had to shut down most in person instruction for two weeks and place two dorms on quarantine. It is not clear if this was related to students going to bars, but it appears that this has been a factor. Madison's outdoor eating and drinking plan dubbed the "Streatery" program will continue past October into April of 2021. Alcohol use appears to have increased due to COVID, initially due to online and take out sales. Studies are also showing that drinking is being used to cope with the isolation of not seeing people and the anxiety that people naturally have about the future. It is too late to go back to February and March and instituted a nationwide lockdown like what should have happened. It is not, however, too late to plan to vote this fall and support candidates who understand public health and support science, and who will be able to sufficiently address the health, economic and faith in government crisis that we are going through. Maybe after that, we can focus more on mental health and substance abuse.
Bars and COVID: www.nytimes.com/2020/08/12/health/Covid-restaurants-bars.html
Drinking rates increasing due to COVID: