Stories and experiences

In these challenging times of uncertainty and fear, when threats to our own survival and that of those closest to us became the issue we’re dealing with on a daily basis, there is an underlying impression that mental health care isn’t a pressing matter and that ‘it can wait’, while the all available efforts should be focused on preserving life. While it is true that preserving lives is of outmost importance, we should still be aware that mental health is one of the most important factors that will help us survive and go through this latest pandemic.

Our mental health directly affects our ability to cope and appropriately react to short and long term challenges – from the crisis in provision of health care services, dealing with economic challenges, to helping in the recovery and reconstruction of our society once the pandemic is over. 

Another issue that has fallen to second plan midst the Covid19 pandemic is chronic pain management. Chronic pain is a serious, both socioeconomic and medical problem that in various forms affects about 13.5 to 47% of the population in the U.S. and carries a significant financial burden (about 600 billion dollars is spent on pain management in the U.S. on yearly basis).
Chronic pain impairs daily activities, increases suffering, increases consumption of illicit drugs and ultimately results in high downstream societal cost through disability pensions and high frequency of sick leave. It is an ever present public health issue that creates significant costs for patients, disability insurance and healthcare systems.

Since the pandemic outbreak in late 2019, COVID-19 has spread to all the countries world-wide, resulting in death of almost 2 million individuals (300.000 of which are in the U.S. alone, as of December 2020) and 82 million of people becoming infected. To make matters worse, health care providers have much increased risk of contracting the infection, which places enormous strain on already heavily burdened health care system. In addition, pain medicine and anesthesia providers who typically perform regional anesthetic blockades and spinal interventions are exposed to higher infection risk compared with many other health care providers.

There is an ever-increasing evidence that connects COVID-19 infection with referred pain, myalgia and widespread hyperalgesia, placing additional importance on providing adequate strategies for chronic pain treatments. As pandemic continues to affect our lives in every possible facet, it brought forward the unforeseen issues in chronic pain treatment.

Recent beginning of vaccine administrations worldwide has shown some light at the end of the tunnel, but due to the slow pace of vaccination process it will take some time until COVID-19 shows signs of decline. In the meantime, masks and physical distancing remain the best ways of limiting the spread of the infection. There is no safety of individual without the safety of the whole community and protecting others ultimately means protecting ourselves.

It is more important than ever that health care providers educate their patients about their conditions and available treatment options, whether it is about mental health issues or chronic pain management. The pandemic has a profound effect on these patients, as delays or pauses in providing the treatment will in the long run have many negative consequences for patients, leading to disability, pain increase, addiction disorders, mental health worsening, and increased financial burden of future healthcare costs.

Amethyst Azul organization has been formed in the midst of the pandemic, with a specific goal in mind - to help relieve mental and physical pain and increase access to care to those who most need it. We believe that with our work, dedication, and the help of our donors, we can make a difference. If you have any inquiry about our program or ways you can get involved, give us a call at 410-870-5482, or send us an e-mail. We are looking forward to hearing from you!