Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the Pandemic – Care for Caregivers
It only takes a quick glance to see the impact of COVID-19 in our communities. Wearing masks in public has become the norm, the arrows in grocery stores that safely direct us, and most indoor activities have been curtailed or have limiting restrictions. However, one of the pandemic’s biggest impacts is something we cannot see as easily—the effect on our mental health.
For over a year, healthcare workers have been in the centre of the pandemic—enduring the stress and pressure that comes with that. Recognizing early on there was a need to address this, SafeCare BC partnered with The Canadian Mental Health Association, and The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to create Care for Caregivers.
Launched in April 2020, Care for Caregivers is an online platform for healthcare workers. Through its articles, videos, webinars, and various other FREE resources, the site provides support for COVID-19-related mental health stressors, tailored for healthcare workers.
It’s vital that these resources are easily accessible, explains SafeCare BC and Care for Caregivers team member Rhys Mahannah. “Mental health is an important part of a person’s overall well-being. It’s just as important as one’s physical health, and particularly important now, during this difficult time, when people are feeling burnt out, stressed, and dealing with the emotional toll of the pandemic.”
And it’s this focus on the people that lead to the companion program Care to Speak, a telephone and online chat service that provides emotional and psychological help. Care to Speak is a free and confidential peer support service, run by healthcare workers for healthcare workers.
“When a healthcare worker uses the Care to Speak service, they can find comfort in knowing that the person on the other end understands what they’re going through—because they have been through it too,” explains Jessica Both, Programs Coordinator for the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Sometimes just talking to someone who can relate to you is enough to feel better. These seemingly small social interactions can make a huge difference. COVID-19’s restrictions are socially isolating. Care to Speak is a reminder that there is a larger community out there.
“It’s a really good feeling knowing that I can be there for someone else who is having a hard day. It’s important to know that you’re not alone,” says Natasha, a Care to Speak volunteer. We’re here to listen, and we understand what you’re going through. We’re all in this together.”