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The day after the storm (April 16th) by Oli



It was on my last day under the supervision of the intensive community service, following an episode of poor mental health, that one of the nurses introduced me to a new term: “Crisi-tunity”. The basic meaning of the word is that sometimes a crisis provides opportunities to make radical changes in one’s life that would be difficult or impossible to make in the normal circumstances of everyday life. I didn’t really like the term or the meaning of the word at the time, the suggestion that there was something good about what I had just been through was deeply out of touch with how I felt. Although on reflection, several months after my time with the community service I did make some considerably radical changes to my aspirations and priorities, ultimately altering my career path.

I’ve seen the phrase “never let a crisis go to waste” banded about in opinion pieces recently, ironically in most cases but not always. It seems that this is the same sentiment as what the nurse said to me several years ago, and I think it is equally out of touch. I would never say to someone who has lost their job that “perhaps this is a good opportunity”, or to someone with a sick relative that “maybe this will bring your family closer together”. But when thinking about the public and our communities I think that perhaps there is a “Crisi-tunity” to be addressed, the pandemic has shown us how fragile many of our economic, health and social systems are, and in the months of recovery that follow the worst of the crisis there really is an opportunity to reflect on our priorities, our systems and our politics. The rapid and huge changes in resource allocation and organisation that we have seen in the last few weeks have demonstrated what is possible, I hope that when the time is right that people are prepared to voice their demands, concerns and needs, to build and improve the systems we all depend on.

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