Like all industries, the nonprofit sector is trying to put the pandemic behind them. During and immediately after the height of the pandemic government subsidies buoyed up many nonprofits through programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), Employee Retention Credit (ERC), and Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG). When asked about their organization’s financial position as the pandemic began to wane in the fall of 2022, 49% reported being somewhat or very concerned about their financial condition. In a recent follow-up survey, however, overall satisfaction in the past three months has increased considerably (by 64%), while those who are somewhat or very concerned has remained nearly the same (48.71%).
As so often happens in our modern 24-hour news cycle the latest crisis pushes any ongoing crisis off the front page and out of public consciousness. COVID 19 and January 6th have all but eliminated the opioid addiction epidemic from our front-page view. However, the crisis has not gone away. Provisional data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicate that there were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during 12-month period ending in April 2021, an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the year before. The new data documents that estimated overdose deaths from opioids increased to 75,673 in the 12-month period ending in April 2021, up from 56,064 the year before. Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also increased in the 12-month period ending in April 2021.
As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to recede after killing 1,000,000 of our fellow citizens in two years, social workers who deal in public policy are asking the question, "How did our society let this deadly disease get so out of control and do so much damage?"
The entire civilized world is suffering from a form of collective PTSD. Social workers report being overwhelmed with cases of alcoholism, drug addiction, anxiety, divorce, depression, and suicide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says: "Suicide rates in the United States are often the result of circumstances beyond the individual's control. People who die by suicide report an unshakeable feeling of dread, despair, loneliness, and hopelessness."
Pandemic related labor shortages are threatening the nonprofit sector's recovery. Many smaller nonprofits, virtually shut down during the worst of COVID-19, have begun to revitalize but find progress hampered by a shortage of qualified personnel. Large corporations have raided the nonprofit personnel ranks with lucrative pay increases, flexible work hours, and work from home options that smaller nonprofits find it difficult to match.
COVID-19 has drastically changed the whole world. From food shortages to problems in the healthcare sector, we’ve seen a wide range of problems since the start of the pandemic in 2020. In these challenging circumstances, NGOs play a vital role in helping individuals get their lives back on track.
Here's a few examples of how NGO's are adapting in an ever-changing pandemic era. They are finding different ways to rise to the needs and demands placed on them during these turbulent times.
(Excerpted from an article by Paul Moakley in Time Magazine, "Deaths Amoung America's Homeless Are Soaring in the Pandemic. A Photographer Captures a Community In Crisis")
Nearly 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses from 1999-2019. This epidemic of opioid overdose deaths can be outlined in three distinct waves.
- The first wave began with increased prescribing of opioids in the 1990s, with overdose deaths involving prescription opioids (natural and semi-synthetic opioids and methadone) increasing since at least 1999.
- The second wave began in 2010, with rapid increases in overdose deaths involving heroin.
- The third wave began in 2013, with significant increases in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, particularly those involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl. More than 14,000 deaths involving illicitly manufactured synthetics occurred in 2019, which is equivalent to about 38 deaths per day.
Health care social workers who support medical professionals are reporting a dramatic increase in burnout in America's nursing community. They say that the rapidly escalating surge in COVID-19 infections across the U.S. has caused a shortage of nurses and other front-line staff in virus hot spots that can no longer keep up with the flood of unvaccinated patients and are losing workers to burnout.
As social workers in the field of education work to help students return to the classroom during this persistent and deadly pandemic, they are finding students more traumatized and fearful than they realized. The on-again/off-again guidance coming from the adults in the room as to whether masks are required, or vaccinations are indispensable, or social distancing could do it, or if you want to protect yourself and your family just stay home, has raised the anxiety level in students and greatly diminished their trust in their elders.