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This article was originally published by The Conversation. You can read it here.

and was written by Claudia Finkelstein, Jennifer E. Johnson, and Julia Felton.

As millions across the U.S. prepare to return to work – and maybe, a level of normalcy – the phrase, "We're all in this together," heard constantly in the media, turns out to be both true and untrue. Yes, the pandemic is a global experience. But it's also very much an individual enterprise.

Your race, age, socioeconomic status, where you live and whether or not children are in the house all have a dramatic impact on how you're responding to the pandemic. For many, aside from the isolation, life has changed little. But others have lost family, friends, a paycheck or a business. For some of them, any sense of security has vanished.

Much has been written about the need for personal protective equipment, or PPE. But now, as we face reentry, it's time to develop our EPE – emotional protective equipment. And there's no better time than May – when the National Alliance on Mental Illness observes Mental Health Awareness Month – to begin the conversation.

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