Canadian Mental Health Association, North & West Vancouver says social connection is key to recovering from the mental health impacts of the pandemic
North Vancouver, B.C. (May 3, 2021) – The Canadian Mental Health Association, North and West Vancouver (CMHA NWV) is encouraging residents of the Sunshine Coast to make their mental health a priority during the Association’s 70th Annual Mental Health Week (May 3-9) by boosting their social support networks. They have lined up a week of online events and activities to encourage connection and resilience building.
The pandemic is taking an emotional toll on people in BC, with 37% saying that their mental health has deteriorated since the onset of the pandemic, compared to a national average of 41%. This is according to the third round of data from the Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health national monitoring survey released today by the CMHA, in partnership with UBC researchers, to mark CMHA’s 70th annual Mental Health Week. However there is some positive news! While the new survey results reveal that many British Columbians are feeling anxious, worried, bored and stressed 31% of those surveyed are also feeling hopeful.
“It’s certainly been a very difficult and challenging year. The pandemic has strained our ability to access daily connections that support our mental health, and we have been shaken by the tragic loss of lives on a local, international and global level,” says Julia Kaisla, Executive Director, CMHA North and West Vancouver. “We know that racialized communities, those experiencing financial uncertainty due to unemployment and people with a pre-existing mental health condition have been particularly hard hit. More than ever, we need to pay special attention to these groups and find ways to offer our support and advocacy”.
“At the same time, what I have learned this year is that we need to look inwards and consider our own emotions. When we have compassion for ourselves we can offer this to others. My wonderful team and I are endlessly grateful and overwhelmed by our community’s willingness to volunteer, donate and offer encouragement. We need to stay the course and turn the page on this pandemic and its legacy. Please join us in celebrating CMHA’s 70th Mental Health Week. It’s a time to sing, laugh, listen, learn and reflect”.
To celebrate Mental Health Week people can take part in a variety of online interactive activities including Wellness Bingo and open mic events and informative presentations on mental health and wellbeing.
In addition to offering low-cost counselling, delivering essential outreach and peer support services and wellness programs throughout the Sea to Sky corridor, Sunshine Coast and North and West Vancouver, CMHA NWV offers a robust weekly schedule of social support groups throughout the year including sing-alongs, pet therapy and meditation, and pain and substance use recovery support groups.
A key tenet of the branch’s vision is that connection and community is integral to mental wellbeing. Meaningful connections and a sense of belonging can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions and lead to higher self-esteem and empathy.
Information about CMHA NWV’s Mental Health Week events can be found at https://northwestvancouver.cmha.bc.ca/news/mhw2021/
To access a complete summary of the new report findings on the emotional toll of the pandemic, please click here.
About the data
The survey was dispatched by Maru/Matchbox in late January, 2021 to a representative sample of 3,037 people ages 18 and up living in Canada. It is the third round of a national monitoring survey that is also aligned with work being conducted by the Mental Health Foundation in the U.K. Access a complete summary of the findings at https://cmha.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/CMHA-UBC-Round-3-Summary-of-Findings-FINAL-EN.pdf