On July 22, 2021, victory was claimed for 275,000 Missourians when the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously voted that Medicaid expansion was constitutional. This is truly a historic moment to validate the action voters took to pass Medicaid expansion in August 2020, and moves our region closer to addressing health equity. Thank you to everyone who has worked tirelessly to make this a reality for our region.

After more than a year of fighting COVID, Medicaid expansion, racism, it is refreshing to pause and reflect on the moment to celebrate this win. There are many people, including myself, who can use a moment for respite after experiencing higher levels of burnout and fatigue over these last few years. 

To address the trauma, stress, and burnout in our communities, this year, PrepareSTL conducted a new campaign, called “Living Well in The Era of COVID.” This campaign responds to a shift from an outbreak and containment approach to the pandemic to a community-wide pursuit of a “new normal,” marked by the emergence of vaccines, deepening concerns about collective trauma, and a growing emphasis on community resiliency. A wellness summit was held in July that provided an opportunity for the community to come together for healing. 

I hope we can create more opportunities for communities to have space for healing and restoration. I am happy and proud to see young people, like Simone Biles, Naomi Osaki, and others, have the courage to step away and focus on their own mental well-being. Hopefully, we all begin to develop this courage and can normalize mental well-being. As more coverage options become available, more people will have access to resources to see the appropriate providers for treating the whole person.

Thanks to our partners at Alive and Well Communities, I now understand the importance and the need to prioritize self-care. I try to find more and more ways to incorporate this into my daily routine. For more ways to address self-care for you, your team, or organization, visit www.awcommunities.org/self-care. We must do a better job at taking care of ourselves, so we can be prepared for the work ahead. 

From the words of the Dalai Lama, “If you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone to withdraw and restore yourself.”

Angela Fleming Brown

CEO, St. Louis Regional Health Commission

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