After almost a year of pandemic, Quebecers are experiencing a kind of burnout 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 is affecting people a lot, to varying degrees,” said Roussy at the outset, who generally notes more depressive states and an increase in anxiety symptoms in the population. Usually, a psychologist who encounters a patient with these symptoms will recommend that they go out, be entertained, and see people.
“Go recommend that to them right now!” Everything is closed. Even a walk outside at night is difficult! ” launches the professional with spite.
Psychologist Kévin Gaudreault brings some revealing statistics.
While on average, according to the Institut de la statistique du Québec, 12% of Quebecers experience an episode of depression in their lifetime, it is expected that this number will 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 points out. People are more limited in their activities, which are sources of healing. ”
- Listen to the interview with Élizabeth Ménard at the microphone of Richard Martineau on QUB radio:
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 stresses that it is important not to be alone with her concerns and reminds that CPS workers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help provide 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 strengthening 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, experts add, there are simple things we can do on a daily basis to maintain our sanity. Whether it’s setting aside time to get some fresh air, heal your diet, or exercise.
Expert advice to preserve our Mental Health
- Go out for a walk or exercise
- Exposing yourself to the light of day
- 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