The year 2020 has been unlike any other in recent history. As we approach its conclusion, the challenges that COVID has wrought upon our community will likely resonate for years to come.
The arrival of the first vaccines has provided many of us with a welcome ray of hope that life as we knew it before the pandemic will eventually resume. But for many community members who are in a darker place, this light is hard to see, as they struggle with depression and anxiety, which has been heightened by the dreary weather and extended public health restrictions.
Mental Health Issues On The Rise
Mental wellbeing among Canadians has been a concern since COVID’s earliest days, when mental health experts estimated that 50 percent of people were experiencing some level of depression. Since the pandemic moved into its second wave, with strict limitations on in-person gatherings and increased closures, statistics reveal that this situation has worsened in alarming ways.
According to a recent national survey conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association in partnership with UBC, more than 70 percent of Canadians are worried about the impact of the second wave, with intensified feelings of stress and despair, and suicidal thoughts.
Additionally, 40 percent of those surveyed say that their mental health has taken a turn for the worse since the spring. People who are unemployed and young people ages 18 to 24 have been particularly hard hit.
Concern In Our Own Backyard
Closer to home, we are also witnessing the worrisome impacts of COVID on the mental health of members of the local Jewish community. To cite a few examples:
- More seniors are trying to cope with increased feelings of prolonged isolation and reduced social connections;
- Youth and young adults, especially those who are already struggling with feelings of anxiety, stress, or depression, are having more difficulty adapting to the changes and unpredictability caused by COVID;
- Professionals and frontline workers are feeling the strain of ongoing operational, financial, and psychological stressors, often while battling personal exhaustion; and
- Many families are overwhelmed with the shifting demands of everyday life, from ensuring there are adequate finances to put food on the table to worries about their children’s wellbeing.
Jewish Federation has been at the forefront, working with our partner agencies to address these complex mental health issues and supporting workshops for community members on how to navigate pandemic-related emotional challenges. This week, we convened a meeting for youth and young adult professionals to explore strategies to support members of this age group, many of whom are facing numerous disappointments, job losses, and uncertain futures.
Give Like Your Community Depends On It
As we work towards community recovery, we know that the solutions are far from simple. We also know that together we can achieve remarkable outcomes.
You can support community recovery with a secure online donation or call us at 604.257.5100. All gifts made before December 31, 2020 are eligible for a 2020 tax receipt.