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In 2021 America seemed to acknowledge en masse that trauma has entered the national scene.[1] Americans are now eight times more likely to be in some form of mental distress than before the pandemic.[2] Who hasn’t felt this truth? Our board members all lost someone to COVID, including a founding board member who also passed on from it. One advisor lost four family members in six months. Another brought her sister, an ICU nurse, to a mental health residential facility due to overwork and secondary trauma. It’s been a truly difficult time for all.

Frontline workers, valuable employees supporting both America’s public health and economy, have been hit hardest. Their jobs are staffed largely by people of color in most urban and some rural areas. Service professionals and their families are getting sick after being exposed at work and school, bringing it home, while masked, to elders and children. COVID deaths have not slowed in many communities,[3] causing a historically monumental trend in mental distress.


Essential workers, plagued by the mental health effects of fatigue, are least likely to afford enough time off for respite, much less vacation. In October, the research journal Molecular Psychiatry found that 23% of Americans are now experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The researchers aired strong recommendations for early intervention and long-term support.[4]

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Respite and daily self-managed mental health are critical for preventing crisis points beyond repair, and people now seem to be seeking solutions. A Cleveland Clinic survey found that 82% of America now feels that mental health is just as important as physical health (up from 68% in 2018.)[5]


To deliver services that help, we’re leaning into our original calling: bring people into nature to minimize physical health effects of traumatic stress—improving quality of life for those of humble means, relieving system costs of healthcare, and reestablishing resiliency for more members of the public.


We appreciate everyone who has helped us get this far.


With sincere dedication,


Joy Ellsworth, Board President, Clement Waters Retreat


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