The challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything most of us have ever faced. In addition to the fear of how the disease will impact our loved ones, some of whom are at greater risk of falling seriously ill, we are dealing with ever-increasing restrictions on our movements. For many, our jobs are at risk, on pause, or suddenly changed to working from home. All while the global economy reels with the effects of an unprecedented slowdown. And CAPS members are far from immune to these changes. Scary times, indeed. We could all use some comfort – but the need for social distancing, which is vital to slow the spread of COVID-19, impedes even that. All of this raises a very real concern for the mental health of individuals as well as the overall mental health of workplaces. It is only natural for the added fear, anxiety, financial strain and general uncertainty to take a toll. And, while everyone is trying to simply survive this crisis it will be all too easy for mental health to fall down the priority list. But that is exactly the opposite of what everyone should be doing. During times of extreme stress, mental health is absolutely essential – as is the early identification of the onset of a mental illness. There is a real need for everyone to learn more about mental illness and mental health, and that need is higher right now than ever before. Another major concern is that of self-stigma, which is all too common. When a person suddenly experiences the symptoms of a mental illness such as depression or anxiety, it is extremely easy for them to apply all the stigma, fear and lack of knowledge towards themselves. This can be paralyzing and very dangerous, as people who need help won’t seek it. In response to these unique challenges, it is vitally important for all of us to take care of our own mental health while elevating our mental health literacy and finding ways to eliminate the stigma.
Author, Jason: 1 | Stigma: 0 – My battle with mental illness at home and in the workplace