World News – AU – Pandemic pressures fuel need for government to step up mental health support – iPolitics


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As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, the number of people suffering from depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide also increases – especially the young, women, small business owners, and the unemployed.

John Trainor, chairman of the board of directors of Mental Health Research Canada, appeared before the House of Commons Health Committee on Friday, advising members when the pandemic began. His organization began conducting surveys to find out what the effects of the virus were on mental health.

Since then, three surveys with over 10. 000 respondents. It turns out that the depression has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic.

« We are seeing high levels of distress among small business owners, people who live alone, parents with young children and people on low incomes, » Trainor said.

Charlotte Waddell, director of the Center for Child Health Policy at Simon Fraser University, also witnessed the committee. She said the pandemic has affected the mental health of children of all ages.

She also proposed three policy initiatives to the government: « First, the government should develop a comprehensive national children’s mental health plan, » he said. second, it should « double the mental health budget for children »; and third, the progress of children receiving treatment for mental health problems must be monitored.

« If we don’t address it, we are risking a generation scarred by this pandemic, » said Waddell.

On Thursday, researchers from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the University of British Columbia published a study that found 40 percent of Canadians said, « Their mental health has deteriorated since March, with the decline being more pronounced is when they are unemployed at 61 percent. ”

This study comes as many Canadians prepare to celebrate Hanukkah next week and Christmas three weeks from now.

« Cold weather, insecurity, eroded social networks and restrictions on holiday gatherings come at a time when people are already worried, hopeless and worried that things will get worse, » said Margaret Eaton, national CEO of CMHA , in a statement announcing the outcome of the mental health survey.

The biggest concern from the results of this survey was the « sharp rise in insuicidality in this case, with one in ten Canadian – 10 percent – having thoughts or feelings of suicide, down from six percent in the spring, ». 5 percent during the entire prepandemic in 2016. ”

Last month, Conservative MP Todd Doherty called on the federal government to support his application for a three-digit statewide suicide prevention number 988.

Doherty told iPolitics on Friday that that three-digit number could save lives if suicide rates rise due to the pandemic. Currently, suicide numbers vary across the country and are 10 digits long, the same as personal phone numbers.

“Suicide has profoundly affected my life. This is not a partisan issue, and none of the 338 MPs has remained untouched by suicide or mental illness. This is a very real business, and my job is to find a way to do it, ”Doherty said.

« Our government is keen to investigate how a (three) digit prevention number can be implemented, » said Cole Davidson, spokeswoman for Minister of Health Patty Hadju, told iPolitics.

Davidson said the government is determined to help Canadians with mental health issues caused by the pandemic. That’s why they launched the Wellness Together portal in April, where Canadians can meet with mental health professionals via videos, texts or chats. Over 648. 000 visitors visited the portal.

Mental Health, Mental Disorder

World News – AU – Pandemic Pressure Strengthens Need for Government to Improve Mental Health Support – iPolitics


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