Restoration and Resiliency

By Aleisha Garvin, LCSW, LCC Counselor

March marked the one year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic. For the past year, the world as we knew it was changed. We were catapulted into this world that seemed irrevocably broken amid hopelessness, loss and trauma.  We as social workers and essential frontline workers witnessed a nation having high levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness and ultimately, grief. Friends and family could not see each other, parishioners could not worship together, children could not attend school, economic hardship and food insecurity were rampant.  According to Donna Raphael, Senior Director at Family and Children’s Association, the pandemic highlighted the disparity and disproportionality in communities of color. Her response to the inequality was to organize multiple food drives and offer families opportunities to access food needed for themselves and their children.

We as caretakers have to place a high priority on self-care and make sure to get adequate rest and exercise. Social workers have to remember to seek out professional help as needed as the toll of mental health care during a crisis does not discriminate and we all are susceptible. We know that social workers are resilient; we will be restored and bounce back. Erika Deans, Medical Social Worker at the Nassau County Juvenile Detention Center reflected and shared, “COVID-19 tore through this nation with such uncertainty and has shined a light on inequities in systems that were supposed to be designed to help, not hurt, our neighbors. But from the first days of the Social Work Movement during the Civil War until today, women in social work have been on the frontlines to lend guidance and support to the most vulnerable populations”. 

I would be remiss in not mentioning the role of clergy and our faith leaders as essential front line workers and the challenges the pandemic has tolled on the faith based community. Pastors have witnessed firsthand the despair, desolation and mental anguish experienced during this pandemic.  Bishop James Byrd of Love Fellowship Temple offered the following reflection: “Being clergy and gathering to pray, teach, and commune is what we do. Going to hospital beds to pray for the sick and counsel with families has been stripped from me. Being a hands on pastor and now having to rely on social media to communicate has become a challenge but also a reward. . . .This pandemic has taught me to tell those you love that you love them NOW because tomorrow isn’t promised. As a pastor I rely on my faith to assist me in my daily walk with God and people but this pandemic has taught me that my faith alone is not the entire answer. My health partnered with my faith is just as important. I preach/ teach that my body is God’s Temple and through this pandemic it has enlightened me to the fact that I must take care of my physical health if I intend to be here to do the spiritual . . .Let’s take the positive lessons Covid has taught us and become better at being a better us.”

As we reflect on the passing year, let us look to the future. A future of hope, restoration and resiliency. “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” I John 5:4 NKJV




Aleisha Garvin, LCSW, has over 25 years of Forensic Experience working in Government in the areas of Social Welfare, Criminal Justice and Mental Health. She counsels adults and teens for LCC. For an appointment with a counselor or for more information, call LCC at 1-800-317-1173. Sessions are virtual.