As individuals, we struggle every day to cope with the restrictions that we accepted to fight the Pandemic. However, as a society, we haven’t yet come close to reckoning with the impact this new (sur)reality has had on our collective mental health, and the long-term effects on friendships and familial relationships. Some days a trip to the grocery store can bring up a generalized feeling of anxiety. The obvious discomfort I feel when I see people not physically distancing on a TV show. Spring break is coming up in our area, and I have the fear or perhaps the knowledge that the numbers of people infected daily may look very different again after these holidays when infection rates spike because people chose to ignore the rules.
I am not sure about you, but the constant need to try and anticipate the unpredictable becomes wearing. It also seems to me that there is so much anger at what we cannot control which shows up by the ease with which exchanges on social media or in general can ramp up into something much more volatile.
Layered on top of the systemic inequity that existed long before the pandemic, the intensifying public mental health crisis needs. In BC we have another health crisis with overdose deaths, caused by many reasons. This is another layer on top of the systemic inequity that existed long before the pandemic, As a society we need to recognize that public mental health crisis needs to be acknowledged, addressed, and put high on the priority list, not just prioritized. Rather than focusing exclusively on “building back better,” we need to talk, now, about the overwhelming need to build back kinder and more compassionate. This is a vital part of healthy healing for families, workplaces, and communities. There is no time to waste.
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