By Sue Tiffin
Published June 16, 2020
As information about the spread of coronavirus and the devastating effects of the virus throughout the world has infiltrated our sources of information, much has been said about the state of our mental health during a global pandemic.
We’ve talked about the effects of staying physically isolated from family and friends and community, and of how “The Great Pause” might have opened our eyes to how our way of life before the pandemic didn’t always allow us downtime to appreciate traditional ways of life or relaxing time at home with family. We’ve talked about how the pandemic will cause continued stress for those of us who didn’t qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, who needed a thriving tourist industry to survive another season, who will face unemployment long after the initial shutdown is long over, who face the stress of returning to work while the pandemic is still ongoing, or who were already experiencing feelings of stress, isolation or helplessness. We are all more aware of and talking openly about mental health stressors, leading to what is hopefully a better understanding and acceptance of anxiety, depression, grief and the importance of a state of well-being for all, pandemic or not.
As the province reopens, we need to continue looking out for ourselves and each other, trying to make healthy choices and enabling others to do the same. More people out on the streets will cause stress for some. Not continuing to give space to others, or to wear a mask in public, will negatively affect how others feel. Disregarding guidelines that remain in place can be disrespectful to others. And so we need to continue to care for each other, and for ourselves as the reopening affects everyone differently.
In some parts of the county, one of the reasons many of us live here – the vast and easy access to the outdoors – has remained accessible, and more spaces, including beaches, parks and trails will reopen or be reopening soon enough. The chance of a breath of fresh air can help keep us physically active, and can also help us visit family and friends – especially those who might have been lonely – outdoors rather than in small indoor spaces while continuing to respect physical distancing guidelines.
If you have been waiting to have non-urgent care from a physician or other healthcare specialist or putting off asking a medical professional about something, reach out via phone to see if it might be available to you now – and do not wait to visit the emergency room if you are experiencing pain or a condition that requires immediate attention.
While other businesses and services reopen, some of the help in place to assist those self-isolating will begin to dwindle – for example, less chance of obtaining curbside service. Reach out to those who might need it – people over 70, those who are immocompromised or with underlying health conditions, for whom a quick reopening doesn’t yet always apply, and who you might be able to help if you are going out more.
Most importantly, know there is support in this community if you need it. If you feel overwhelmed as reopening happens, visit haliburtoncares.ca to learn more about immediate crisis support, online mental health support and support for health care workers. We still need each other to get through this pandemic.