EDITORIAL: Pandemic pressure for those vulnerable to depression, stress, anxiety

This week is Mental Health Week and it’s OK to say you’re not OK

The current state of the world is wreaking havoc on the physical health of individuals and on economies, while those already vulnerable – the immunocompromised and those living paycheque to paycheque – are bearing the brunt.

Those who are sick and struggling financially are also feeling mental health pressures, but here the impact seems to be even farther and wider.

Whether it’s the senior who was already feeling isolated who now can’t even meet with friends, or the working single parent trying to add homeschooling to an already impossible schedule, many are suffering.

According to provincial Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy, the current COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives, adding increased anxiety, stress and depression and often making a bad situation worse.

“Each year, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health challenge,” Darcy wrote in an op-ed distributed by her ministry this week. “But in the last few months, that number is much, much higher.

• READ MORE: All your local, regional and national COVID-19 coverage in one place

A recent Angus Reid survey indicated that half of Canadians said their mental health has declined during the COVID-19 pandemic and 16 per cent describe themselves as depressed.”

Mental health is at least a contributing factor to most of society’s most serious problems, from crime to poverty to addictions.

We often talk about those who are precariously housed, those vulnerable people who are one unfortunate circumstance away from being homeless.

But there are also a great many people who are barely getting by with their own mental health, and there is a real and present danger that this COVID-19 pandemic could put them over the edge, and not just temporarily.

This is National Mental Health Week (May 4-10), a time to highlight the importance of mental health awareness and understanding.

Mental health is often something that people do not want to talk about, but now more than ever, people should be talking because the only way to get through this pandemic is together.

As Darcy put it: “When someone asks you how you are, it’s OK to say, ‘I’m not OK.’”

Black Press Media

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