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When struggling emotionally during COVID-19, resilience is key

Dr. Kira Mauseth is a clinical psychologist and senior instructor at Seattle University. She is also co-lead for the Behavioral Health Strike Force Team for the Washington State Department of Health.

When COVID-19 hit, experts were not only concerned about how would it affect us physically, but also how it would affect us emotionally. Dr. Kira Mauseth is co-lead for the behavioral health strike team for the state Department of Health. She has been working on a forecast for how our behavioral health would change over time in Washington.

Mauseth made a presentation of the forecast back in May, and has been updating the forecast monthly. We recently talked to her to see if the forecast matched up with what actually happened over the summer, how it has changed, and how resilience is important to getting through these challenging times.

She begins by talking about behavior known as "acting out" versus "acting in."

Mauseth says that we are in a time period where things can be at their worst. She says that typically six to nine months into a disaster we can enter what she calls the “disillusionment phase.” This is a phase where people start accepting there is no quick end in sight, and the “new normal” is a real thing.

Mauseth also says that heading into the new year can be a challenge, pointing out that while there is certainly good reason to have hope about the prospect of a vaccine, a vaccine is only part of the solution.
Mauseth says that resilience is key.

“The ingredients for resilience are purpose, connection, flexibility and adaptability, and hope. So intentionally working on those things in your life is how you get there,” says Mauseth.

She says that if you can work on those four ingredients of resilience, it will definitely help with the next few months.

A note to listeners: This conversation includes a discussion about suicide. Listen to the entire conversation by clicking the play button above.

Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.