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Special episode of ‘Arkansas Week’ to address Census 2020, mental health impact of COVID-19 in the state

Posted 16 Apr 2020

CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — In a special one-hour episode of “Arkansas Week” Friday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m., Arkansas PBS will address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on two things that have to be accomplished during the pandemic: coping mentally and emotionally, as well as physically; and the counting of Americans, including Arkansans, in the 2020 Census.

While social distancing has been necessary, social isolation can be threatening, causing such issues as loneliness, depression, anger, irrational outbursts or substance abuse, among others. From the elderly separated from loved ones, to those now unemployed or working from home with children, Arkansans are feeling the strain of being removed from their usual routines. Joining host Steve Barnes to discuss mental and emotional health are Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, director of Immunizations and Outbreak Response for the Arkansas Department of Health, and Dr. Nihit Kumar, psychiatrist and assistant professor for the Department of Medicine at UAMS.

The 2020 Census, mandated by the U.S. Constitution, helps determine resource allocation for the entire nation, which is particularly important in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Barnes speaks about the Census with Mayor George McGill of Fort Smith, chair of the Arkansas Complete Count Committee, and Shelby Johnson, geographic information officer, vice chair of the Arkansas Complete Count Committee.

“Arkansas Week,” hosted by veteran journalist Steve Barnes, highlights experts discussing issues of concern to Arkansans. “Arkansas Week” airs on Arkansas PBS each Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. and is broadcast Saturday mornings at 5:30 a.m. on KUAR FM 89.1. Episodes are also available at, and viewers may sign up for program updates at

Arkansas PBS is Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. Arkansas PBS delivers daily, essential, local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through multiple digital platforms, including on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).