As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, new quick spreading variations have caused a flood in infections in many countries, and renewed lockdowns. The devastation of the pandemic — a large number of deaths, financial difficulty, and uncommon controls on social interaction— has marked a great affect on individuals' emotional well-being.
According to Canadian Mental Health Association, in any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. Due to the pandemic, statistics show that the number of stress and anxiety levels in Canada are rapidly growing. People are battling with fear and uncertainty about their own health and their loved ones’ health, concerns about employment and finances, and the social isolation that comes from public health measures such as quarantining and physical distancing. A poll conducted by The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health, found that 50% of Canadians reported worsening mental health since the pandemic began with many feeling worried (44%) and anxious (41%). One in 10 Canadians polled said that their mental health had worsened ‘a lot’ as a result of COVID-19. Similar results were found in a survey of Canadian workers, where 81% reported that the pandemic is negatively impacting their mental health, indicating a significant drop in overall worker mental health since the beginning of COVID-19.
Just like many other Canadians, Christina Oyawale is also suffering with anxiety and was diagnosed with immunocompromising health conditions. Christina (they/them) is a Toronto-based artist and creator. Currently completing a photography degree, they have been an active and hard-working contributor towards fostering safe and collaborative spaces for artists and musicians in the city for a number of years. Due to the financial crisis caused by Covid-19, Christina is unable to afford the treatment of their mental health. Their partner, Oliver Compton, has started a GoFundMe to help collect funds for their treatment.
Similarly, many Canadians have faced financial problems due to the pandemic and as a result; have been struggling with anxiety and depression. The COVID-19 crisis has become the main reason of unemployment and income deficit for many. According to The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health, Recent projections are that COVID-19 related unemployment could result in 418 to 2114 excess deaths due to suicide in Canada during 2020-2021. Here are some ways which CDC advises Canadians to do in order to cope with mental health-
exercising regularly, getting a goodnight’s sleep, avoiding excessive drinking or substance abuse, and connecting with family or community virtually.
Psychotherapist, Rebecca Loucks advises that anyone who's suffering with mental health should recognize that it is a tough time and have compassion for themselves as there are a lot of challenges that everyone is facing during these unprecedented times.
While the pandemic has made it harder for everyone to cope with their mental health, it has brought people together, who are trying to help each other out in whatever ways they can. Christina is still battling their mental health challenges but the help they have received from their community has provided them with financial help for their mental health.