With more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic under our belt, fears about the mental health impacts, concerns over family members, uncertainty over the economic risk and extended social isolation are all factors for distress. Early into the pandemic the Security General of the United Nations acknowledged the concern over mental well-being and stated it as a priority to be addressed.
It’s very likely that your employees are experiencing mental health set backs as a result of COVID-19. Stats Canada released a voluntary questionnaire in an initiative to understand how COVID-19 is affecting different groups of Canadians. One quarter of those who participated indicated poor or fair mental health. Just over half (52%) of participants indicated that their mental health was either “somewhat worse” or “much worse” while most (88%) participants experienced at least one symptom of anxiety such as feeling nervous or anxious. (Stats Canada, April 2021)
Below is a compilation of resources that may help you and your employees in managing the mental health impacts of COVID-19.
Living Life to the Full webinar series discusses mental health impact of COVID-19: Put on by Canadian Mental Health Association, webinar topics include challenges related to loneliness, young adult mental health, older adult advocacy, and the mental health fallout of the pandemic. Find it here for free.
Mental Health and Resilience During COVID-19: Viewers will receive concrete guidance for building resilience and staying emotionally and mentally healthy during this stressful time, including insights for supporting children. Cost is $20
Psychosocial support during the COVID-19 pandemic: Resources include online links to information on coping with stress and anxiety, self-care strategies and support for children. Find it here for free.
Staying healthy during a pandemic: A one-page quick reference resource with 6 strategies to help cope with stress and anxiety. Find the free resource here.
Employees: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Refer to this resource to recognize the symptoms of stress, know the common work-related factors that can add stress, and learn tips to build resilience and manage job stress. Find it here for free.
Coping with COVID-19: What we can learn from people with lived experience of mental illness. Find it here for free.
Tips for Women to Cope with COVID-19 Stress and Anxiety
By Dr. Khush Amaria, PhD, CPsych
Mental health issues affect both men and women but sometimes not in equal measure. Why might this be? There are certain life events and cultural factors that uniquely impact women more than men and take a lasting emotional toll like:
- Women tend to do more in the home
- Gender roles continue to exist
- Body image issues are prevalent from an early age
- Help-seeking barriers are present
New research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)* also indicates there is a gender gap in terms of the mental health challenges women are experiencing compared to men during COVID-19. Findings include:
- Women have higher anxiety levels (24%) than men (18%)
- Women report higher levels of loneliness (23%) than men (19%)
- Fear of catching COVID-19 is increased for women (26%) VS men (20%)
- Parents of children under 18 have higher levels of depression as well
To manage stress and anxiety during these times and beyond, there are a few tips you can consider:
- Know your warning signs – check in with yourself and understand your stress and anxiety levels to know when to take a break.
- Invest in self-care – prioritize taking care of your needs first before anyone else’s so you are not depleted while taking care of loved ones.
- Connect with others – eliminate the stigma of talking about mental health (even if it’s self-imposed) by opening up and sharing your stories with your circle of friends or family.
- Focus on what you can control – remove unnecessary pressure in your life by focusing on the parts that are within your control and let go of what isn’t within your control.
- Set strong boundaries and limits – create the space you need to take from others or at work to add balance to your life.
- Connect with meaning and value – know what’s important to you and fill your life with everything that makes you happy and gives you a sense of purpose.
Today, we #ChooseToChallenge on #IWD2021 and encourage all those who are experiencing mental health struggles to reach out and ask for help. Remember, we are all in this challenging time together and no one should suffer in silence.