Mental Health Concerns Among DC Area Residents as City Begins to Reopen (

Mental Health Concerns Among DC Area Residents as City Begins to Reopen (


On May 29, 2020, Washington DC began the phased process of reopening after Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a shutdown that lasted two months due to the furious spread of COVID-19. The gradual lifting of restrictions came after city officials declared that the city had met four metrics:

  • A 14-day decline in the spread of COVID-19 and the overall rate of transmission
  • Enough hospital beds to handle a surge in cases
  • The ability to test priority groups
  • Increased capacity to conduct contact tracing of new infections

While the “stay-at-home” order dissolved, allowing us to slowly regain some semblance of normalcy, social distancing and face coverings will still be strongly recommended.

Sounds great, right?

Well… in a lot of ways, this is fantastic news! In some ways, not so much… 

“Anxiety tops everything, because we don’t have access to so many things that help us get less anxious, like connections to family and friends and things like that…” – Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, trauma psychologist and adjunct professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown School of Medicine.

For some DC residents who struggle with mental health issues, this news has served as a trigger that sparks new bouts of anxiety and depression, among other issues. We struggled with the massive change that was forced upon us when the quarantine began, and now we must struggle with more changes as we progress through the reopening of the city we call home. 

What’s more is that some of us still haven’t settled into any form of comfort or routine in the months since we were told to stay home – that’s an extremely difficult task to complete when you have no idea what to expect from one day to the next.

So, as we begin to take the next steps as the city attempts to return to its formal self, some of us find ourselves in a pinch as we will have to mentally pivot a little more each day on our way to re-entering a functional reality. We will, once again, have to stumble as we re-discover our daily routines. We will have to re-visit and navigate old triggers that were a part of those daily routines, such as traffic and crowded public transportation. And we will, once again, have to do what it takes to make it through the day.

It seems like a bit of a misnomer, but the “good news” in all of this is that we are not alone. In fact, some DC residents have been able to open up about their struggles to local news and media outlets. Even if you are not a fellow DC resident, reading some of their stories may help you with any struggles you may face as your city opens post-quarantine. 

Read the full article here at

There is more DC-specific information here in a DCist article from just prior to the gradual reopening.

For DC-specific information regarding COVID-19, go here.

For information relating specifically to Phase One of DCs reopening, go here.

For an up-to-date graphic of re-openings around the US, go here.


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