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Isolation in any form is far from innocuous

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Isolation doesn’t just mean being alone in a room. Isolation also occurs when you are the only person in a setting where others do not share – and cannot empathize with – your background, experiences, culture, or beliefs. And while just two weeks of isolation is known to make permanent changes to the brain, many children live with isolation for years.

A young person going through a difficult time or living in a tough situation often believes that they are the only ones because their limited life experience has not exposed them to other people having the same struggles. Providing coping skills to children for these types of issues may involve creating groups with other people undergoing the same life changes. These groups expose youth to the fact that they are not alone in their issues with body image, bullying, struggles at home, peer pressure, or any of the other concerns that children face daily. This breaks down the walls created by isolation, allowing the youth of Wichita to see and accept a range of healthy coping skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

Unlike use of drugs and alcohol, shopping, gambling, and other chemical or behavioral addictions, healthy coping skills and the elimination of the emotional and psychological barriers which create isolation make our community a healthier place. They increase worker productivity, help form stronger family and community bonds, and contribute to the contentment and resiliency of our city. Isolation in any of its forms is far from innocuous, and we encourage everyone to consider how to help your friends and neighbors connect with the great city around us.

Eric Litwiller has served the south central Kansas community through his work at Mental Health Association since September of 2017. As Director of Development and Communications, he is charged with seeking the private investment required to raise awareness of the scope of mental health concerns throughout the region in an effort to eliminate the unfair stigma associated with mental illness.