Mental health is a term that’s hard to pin down and yet we use it all the time.
When we say we’re going to take a “mental health day”, does that mean we stay at home and not go to work, does it mean that we do the activities we love most, or does it mean we finally get some chores out of the way that we’ve been putting off for far too long? In the event that a global pandemic forces us to stay inside longer than we like, then maybe a “mental health day” would mean going to the office for a change!
Not to mention the research around mental health can be confusing. This study(1) found that psychological well-being deteriorated after the initial Covid-19 outbreak but this study(2) found that mental health search queries on Google decreased by a significant amount after stay-at-home orders were issued. One study(3) found that children experiencing emergency Covid measures had increased mental health measures in some areas and a decrease in others.
It can be quite confusing, to say the least.
So here is a statement that isn’t confusing: mental health is real.
You can define it, study it, debate it, and reflect on it, but you can’t deny that it’s there. The only way that we’re going to sort through the mess that is mental health, especially in these uncertain times is to talk about it. It’s okay to not be okay right now. There is nothing wrong with admitting that we are a little scared and a little anxious. I know I certainly am.
This blog post might be a little late for #bellletstalk, and despite recent realizations from the Bell Media Company, we don’t need a corporate excuse to talk about mental health. Covid-19 is going to be here for a little while longer and the effect on our mental health is one of its symptoms. We must continue to push for true Mental Health Initiatives whose focus is on people, let’s talk about it.
– Paul. G
- COVID-19 pandemic and mental health consequences: Systematic review of the current evidence. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.05.048
- Flattening the Mental Health Curve: COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders Are Associated With Alterations in Mental Health Search Behavior in the United States. Doi:10.2196/19347
3. Mostly worse, occasionally better: impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of Canadian children and adolescents. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-021-01744-3