A spokesperson for Southern Health says there has been an increased number of calls for mental health services in recent weeks.
Dana Human is Regional Director of Mental Health and Spiritual Care. Human says she can not say whether that is because of COVID-19, but notes this pandemic has certainly created anxiety among Manitobans.
This could range from behavioural challenges that children are experiencing from not being in school or seeing their friends. Or, it could be mothers and fathers who are having to be home with their children all day and not knowing how to deal with their education struggles. It could be stress from seniors in personal care homes who can not have visitors or the information overload related to COVID-19. Or, maybe it is the frustration of people who have been forced to wear masks in stores and follow lines on the floors.
“My favourite quote is, you are not alone,” shares Human.
Human is quick to point out however, the increase in calls for mental health services may not necessarily be related to COVID-19. She notes the stigma of mental health is being knocked down and more people are just comfortable talking about their challenges.
“I am quite hopeful in saying that it is because the stigma is being bashed out and people are starting to reach out and talk about it,” notes Human.
According to Human, there are some warning signs we can watch for, to know whether we or our loved one is suffering right now. Someone who is struggling to get out of bed in the morning, or who does not want to connect by telephone, could be suffering. She adds someone who appears out of sorts and not able to do simple tasks like taking a shower, changing clothes, having breakfast or feeding pets, could also be displaying signs of suffering.
For someone who is struggling during this pandemic, Human says it is very important for that person to put their mental health forward. She notes it is normal to feel anxious.
“People really need to realize that the more we talk about it, we can actually connect with others and have that realization, ‘I am not alone,’” she adds.
Human says the government has provided many online resources to help. Southern Health also has a phone line for crisis at 888-617-7715 or attend your local emergency department for immediate assistance.
According to Human, the increase in calls for service is coming from all age groups.
Original by Shannon Dueck, Pembina Valley Online