After almost a year of pandemic, Quebecers are experiencing a kind of burn-out collective, and the stress of the past few months has raised anxiety levels.
This is the opinion of a psychologist, Gaëtan Roussy, vice-president of the Association des psychologues du Québec.
“The pandemic affects people a lot, to varying degrees”, remarks Mr. Roussy at the outset, who generally notes more depressive states and a rise in anxiety symptoms in the population. Usually, a psychologist who encounters a patient with these symptoms will recommend that they go out, have fun and see people.
“Go recommend that to them right now!” Everything is closed. Even a walk outside in the evening is difficult! ” launches the professional with spite.
His colleague Kevin Gaudreault agrees. While on average, according to the Institut de la statistique du Québec, 12% of Quebecers experience an episode of depression in their life, he expects this number to increase to 20% in these times of pandemic.
“There is a marked increase in depression and anxiety,” he says.
“Containment reduces social contact. Isolation is a risk factor, he stresses. People are more limited in their activities, which are sources of healing. ”
At the Quebec Suicide Prevention Center (CPS), there has been a 6.5% increase in calls in recent months, says director Lynda Poirier. Which in itself is “good news,” she says, as people are looking for more help. She also notes an increase in calls from young people under the age of 20, who have concerns for themselves or their loved ones.
“It’s a stressful time, our benchmarks are changed, we are experiencing more stress and anxiety.” She insists on the fact that it is important not to be left alone with her concerns and reminds that CPS workers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help find solutions.
On the other hand, the 21 members of the Regroupement des Services d’Intervention de Crise du Québec have noted a clear increase in the number of requests for assistance since the reinforcement of health measures.
With “pandemic fatigue”, the exceptional measures resulting from it cause significant collateral damage in terms of mental health, maintains Vice-President Guillaume Le Moigne. This leads people to “situations of great distress”. Stakeholders are also available to provide assistance at all times.
Fortunately, add the experts, there are simple actions we can take on a daily basis to preserve our mental health. Whether it’s setting aside time to get some fresh air, improve your diet or exercise.
Expert advice to preserve our Mental Health
- Go out for a walk or exercise
- Exposing yourself to daylight
- Get information from reliable sources
- Avoid screens two hours before bedtime
- Maintain a good diet
- Watch out for drug and alcohol use
- Keep in touch with people you trust
- Avoid arguing too much in the event of a dispute
- Lead a simple life
- Keep a regular sleep schedule
- Avoid trying to outperform