CBC Windsor – Published July 2/21
As the province lifts public health restrictions, more people are anxious about social reintegration, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen plan includes increases in gathering sizes, Up to 25 people can now get together outdoors, and indoor meetings are now possible for up to five people.
Dana St. Jean, Pandemic Response Therapist for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Windsor-Essex, said she is noticing more people are worried about life in society.
“We’re noticing there is still a level of anxiety around reintegrating back into daily busy social activities,” said St. Jean.
“We’re still seeing some people who are needing support around how to manage anxiety, how to manage when they’re with family members or friends who are not getting vaccinated,” said St. Jean.
In December 2020, when Windsor-Essex was under a full lockdown, St. Jean told CBC News she was seeing many patients suffering from the negative effects of social isolation and struggling with separation from loved ones.
The organization had adapted its mental health and wellness programs to adhere to public health measures by providing virtual and telephone services.
“All of our programs, we’ve been really flexible and shifting how we’re providing services to ensure there is accessibility to services, that services were never put on hold or stopped because of the pandemic,” said St. Jean.
Impact of social isolation
As Windsor-Essex slowly reopens, CMHA is observing more people experiencing lower moods, languishing feelings and comparisons to life before the pandemic.
“We’re also seeing the impact of what increased isolation has done to individuals. How do we reconnect in relationships?” said St. Jean.
St. Jean said she is seeing many people suffering from caregiver and worker burnout, as well as feelings of apprehension, anxiety and frustration in public settings.
“We can still muster the energy to continue as our norms are shifting again,” said St. Jean.
For people experiencing concerns about their mental health or feeling overwhelmed, St. Jean encourages them to reach out and use the support services that are available.
“Don’t just sit with it,” said St. Jean.