The impact this pandemic has had on our mental health will far outlast this crisis. This is something we cannot ignore.
The pandemic, resulting lockdowns, restrictions and failures of the government have taken an unimaginable toll on everyone’s mental health, sparing no one and no age group.
In a recent national poll, the proportion of Canadians who have reported their level of depression as high has increased by 70% since the height of COVID’s first wave. Canadians are reporting their highest levels of anxiety (23%) and depression (15%) – above the levels at the peak of COVID’s first wave.
Alberta is among the highest in Canada for reported increased levels of anxiety and depression.
I have held numerous virtual town halls in my riding with community leaders and business owners, talking about mental health and the impact on our constituents.
I have listened to distressed constituents who have been unable to get a vaccine or COVID test in a timely manner; constituents who have been laid off or are on the verge of losing their businesses; and many who are very concerned about isolation and continual lockdowns affecting their elderly parents or children. I have listened to heartbreaking stories of loved ones committing suicide.
Many people have lost hope.
I am asking for what Canadians are demanding of governments at all levels, and that is for honesty, transparency, and some hope as to when this crisis may end, because right now there is not much hope.
We have asked Canadians to do a lot, but there is a breaking point. We cannot keep this up. This cannot be the new normal.
The mental health crisis is near and dear to my heart and I will continue to advocate for supports. Conservatives have put forward strong proposals to address the mental health crisis, including a plan to increase mental health funding to the provinces and provide employer incentives for mental health coverage for employees.
A priority must be placed on timely access to mental health care and substance use health programs and services at the local level. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that we have the resources and capacity to provide mental health care to the people of Canada when and where they need it.
It is critical we get life back to normal, so people can get back to work, socializing and hugging our loved ones. Mental health is a crisis we will be dealing with for some time after COVID is no longer in the headlines.
Anyone who is suffering, no matter where you live, your age or the reason, please know there are resources within your communities across Canada that you can access. You are not alone, and there is always someone to talk to.
Member of Parliament for Foothills
Mental Health Awareness week is May 3rd – 9th