OTTAWA – Mental health professionals are warning of an echo-pandemic of mental illness to follow in the wake of COVID-19. Green critic for health Jenica Atwin (MP, Fredericton) is calling for immediate investments in community mental health services.
“The gaps in mental health services before the pandemic were massive. We were already facing a mental health crisis and then COVID-19 came along,” said Atwin. “The pandemic has been unlike anything we’ve experienced, exposing Canadians in all walks of life to new anxieties, robbing them of the comfort of family and friends, leaving them financially insecure. It is hitting people hard.”
Last week, Dr. Simon Sherry, a psychologist in Nova Scotia, said that he has seen more suicide attempts in the last three months than he has seen in five years.
“We are already seeing the toll this pandemic is taking on people but mental health professionals are warning that this is the tip of the iceberg, that we should be preparing for an echo-pandemic of mental illness,” said Atwin. “In other words, we need to act now.”
Over a month ago, the Canadian Mental Health Association called for immediate investment in the scale-up of cost-effective, evidence-based community mental health programs and supports. Atwin added her voice to this call in a letter to Health Minister Patty Hajdu yesterday.
“What’s the hold-up? Hotlines are great, but we need to do more,” said Atwin. “Immediate investments to community organizations and municipal or provincial mental health services are essential to help these services prepare for what’s to come.”
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For more information or to arrange an interview
Chief of Staff to Ms. Atwin