Opinion by Joy Martin, SingleMomzRock
In reviewing the ordinance going before Springfield City Council on Monday, in all of the provisions for people not wearing face masks, there is nothing mentioned about people with mental health issues that will be triggered by the required use of masks.
The proposed ordinance contains a provision for people with medical issues but not mental health issues. I would like to know why mental health issues haven’t been viewed as important as medical health issues, especially when recent years has shown the city and county working together to enhance mental health treatment in our community.
The issue of requiring masks and mental health issues is important to me because I am a survivor of domestic abuse whose ex-husband threatened to kill me in a manner that I will be forced to relive with a mask. My ex-husband detailed to me how be would kill me, including placing a pillow over my face to suffocate me.
The abuse from my ex-husband has left me with post-traumatic stress issues, and the wearing of masks has caused me significant mental anguish since health officials have been recommending their use. I’ve tried to wear one for work and shopping purposes, but within a few minutes was having trouble breathing because of anxiety attacks.
Yet under this proposed ordinance, I would be fined $100 for not wearing something that triggers my mental health issues because there is no exemption in the ordinance.
As the Director of Domestic Abuse Support for SingleMomzRock in Springfield, I have had multiple conversations with women who have gone through similar abuse that have the same issues with wearing face masks. The thought that victims of domestic violence in our city could be fined $100 for not wearing a face mask that triggers mental health issues has caused me even more trauma the past few weeks.
I pray that Springfield City Council and city staff will take steps to amend this ordinance before a final vote to protect abuse victims in our community who will be further harmed by being forced to wear masks.