Mental Health Outreach

By Patricia Godina

Photo source:

A Helping Hand

It is inevitable that the world isn’t in the best shape right now. Many people are suffering physically, but also, mentally. Luckily, there are individuals who are willing to lend out a helping hand during these times, Oliver Compton being one of them.

Photo of Christina Oyawale.

Compton is a 22-year-old from Toronto who is active in the art scene. Meeting their girlfriend Christina Oyawale through the arts and mutual friends, they ended up forming a relationship last year. Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit, Christina was only working part-time and studying for their photography degree. This took an extreme toll on Oyawale’s mental well-being, as well as physical, causing an immuno-compromising health condition. Compton says, “it had been a stress, knowing how to afford this stuff alongside paying for school, and rent, and any other number of expenses. A part-time job that doesn’t pay as much and is their only option, considering their health state. ” reported on a poll in 2020 that many Canadians are seeing major effects on their mental health. This being caused by being frightened of what their health will look like in the future, being quarantined, and having anxiety over money and employment. One in ten Canadians say that their mental state has heightened overall in the midst of COVID-19, and 44% of people are experiencing anxiety.
Oyawale would regularly attend therapy sessions in which they would pay for out of their own pocket. The strain of financial hardships caused Oyawale to put a pause on their appointments. This is where Compton stepped in and made the decision to put up a GoFundMe page on their behalf so that Oyawale can fully pay for therapy, stress-free. Setting a goal for one thousand dollars, the donations ended up exceeding its limit within 10 hours of the link being posted, and the page raised over two thousand dollars within a total of 3-4 days. Compton initially posted it on Instagram and shockingly, it got shared over a hundred times. “Due to our connections, I felt like it spread largely because we have pretty close communities of friends who, in the art scene in Toronto, who are always helping people out and sharing. It felt really great to see people share this thing for Christina, because they really needed it.” Says Compton. Compton was shocked at just how much the page went beyond their communities and expectations.

Photo provided by Rebecca Loucks.

Registered social worker and psychotherapist Rebecca Loucks speaks on just how much this pandemic has increased mental stability. Loucks says, “I think we’re starting to see more and more that people who may have been able to function with high-functioning anxiety and depression, or any number of things, that it’s all coming to the surface now because there’s not as many external coping strategies available. So, we have to recognize that it needs to be a priority on a mass level. Like, community-based kind of supports available, and it is equally important as physical health.”

Though Oyawale remains to still experience chronic mental illness, the act of their community just made it one step closer to the process of healing.

Listen to the Mental Heal Outreach podcast by Patricia Godina here. 

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