With many searching for answers and feeling helpless during this unprecedented time of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Rhonda Travitt is using her gifts to help families rebuild by counseling people on breaking addictions, battling depression, and building healthy relationships.
Travitt is a pastor, certified Christian counselor, certified life coach, and the author of four books. She also founded Transformation of a Nation, a movement that “assists those that are voiceless and gives them a more successful life through mentoring, job placements, counseling, and faith.”
“We believe that there is potential in all of us. There is always something greater in great, meaning each person possesses the ability to bring change,” Travitt says. “When one individual receives the answer and help they desired in life, then they become the answer for someone else to change their life. Lives changed one by one transforms a nation!”
Black Enterprise caught up with Dr. Travitt to discuss the issues she’s counseling people through now and why it’s more important than ever for us to maintain healthy relationships.
What are the most common issues people are bringing to you that they’re struggling with during this pandemic?
The most common issues that I’ve encountered have been fear, anger, and uncertainty. People had become accustomed to having some form of control and freedom over their daily lives. Many people have been left with a sense of helplessness in our country.
How is coronavirus affecting our existing issues, such as depression and addiction?
This pandemic is shining a brighter light on existing issues. Depression has increased at an unprecedented level due to the loss of family members, job loss, and a lost of normalcy. The increase in depression is a consequence partly because of the guilt that many feel of not being able to be present with a dying loved one—denying them of the opportunity for proper closure.
It has been noted that professionals in the medical field, however highly trained, were nowhere near prepared for the level of morbidity they would see, adding to the many new cases of addictions and higher levels of depression.
People are [normally] able to mask issues with the requirements of day-to-day life such as work and being busy, but many are now having to slow down and deal with the issues of self and their current realities. The reality that home isn’t safe, jobs aren’t secure, and having to be teachers to their children when pressures of uncertainty are mounting. Police departments are reporting an increase in domestic and family disturbances during this time, which points to the direct effects the pandemic is having on our communities.
Right now we don’t have physical access to the support we might usually rely on. How can people still get help?
There are tons of local resources that are available at no cost during this time online. The person-to-person interaction is extremely important when providing support, and technology has really assisted by providing platforms such as What’s App, FaceTime Counseling, Skype, and video chats allowing you to schedule appointments as well as be seen virtually by live doctors. We are no longer limited to an in-office visit to receive or offer the mental support that so many need.
Unfortunately most corporations will not know the depth or extent of the post traumatic stress until workers’ normal or regular business operations have resumed. There are resources that are necessary to get to the other side of this crisis that people are in need of and those that have yet to be identified.
Only time will tell what that looks like. We have to recover mentally and emotionally. It’s not an overnight process, not even days or months, we’re talking years. This process I believe will take us as a people back to the heart of humanity: having regard for our human life, our neighbors, strangers, the elderly. No more sizing our sisters and brothers up based on perception. Every joint really does supply. We are all truly in this together and none of those things matter this time around!
How important is it to have healthy relationships right now, and what does that look like in these times of quarantine?
With feelings and emotions at an all time high, it’s necessary to build strong bonds and reinforce support systems. Having a healthy relationship is essential during this crisis, and I firmly believe that every relationship has been tested if not pushed to the limit. Right now people are faced with spouses and children that they’ve only spent a couple of hours a day with. In this time of crisis, they are sometimes spending 16 hours a day with them and getting to know one another more intimately. This is a time of discovery which is relevant in all phases and types of relationships.
Maintaining a healthy relationship during this quarantine means forgiving quickly and being intentional with everyone, specifically those relationships with children and spouses. It takes commitment and work! To come out of COVID-19 with a healthy relationship, we must first be willing to listen to each other, learn and relearn each other, make time for reflection, and not give in to the negative tendencies. Love, respect, and forgive.