The lonely Irvin Garrish Highway awaits travelers. Photo: C. Leinbach

By Earle Irwin

Who remembers the 1990 comedy Home Alone?

The movie was so wildly successful that four sequels followed into the current decade.

Last year, Disney announced that a new sequel was in development. Although the pandemic temporarily has halted that production, will we eventually be streaming Home Alone 6: Due to COVID-19?

COVID-19 restrictions and the Gov. Roy Cooper’s Stay-at-Home orders have resulted in most of us spending far more time at home than we’re used to.

Although HOME normally may be our safe place, for a multitude of reasons, home may not feel like a sanctuary under present circumstances.

If you truly are home alone you may feel isolated, anxious and lonely. If you’re home with others, the continuous proximity may mean more conflicts, patience grown thin and “getting on each other’s last nerve.”

Home alone or not, you may find yourself feeling anxious or discouraged in dealing with the many layers of complication that COVID-19 has brought to our lives.

However, you need not feel ALONE.  Recall that Ocracoke Interfaith Relief & Recovery Team (OIRRT), assisted by a grant through Outer Banks Community Foundation (OBCF), has brought a mental health professional to the island to provide support in follow-up to Hurricane Dorian.

I am that mental health support person, and I remain on the island now also to assist residents with COVID-19 related stress.

While I no longer meet folks in their homes or in an office, I am available by phone, text, email and video chat or to sit outside or walk together while honoring physical distancing restrictions.

Please consider me a resource as you cope with these surreal times and the unexpected changes to your life.

This service is provided through OIRRT and OBCF at NO CHARGE to residents. All counseling is confidential.  Please call, text or email me, Earle Irwin, at 703-863-1243 or

Earle Irwin. Photo: C. Leinbach

Earle Irwin, a retired clinical nurse specialist, is on Ocracoke through July to help islanders cope with Dorian aftermath and any other issues they may be dealing with.

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