Although the realities of a COVID-19 world have existed for six months and have become the new normal, our reporters – and we're sure many of our readers – are still prone to intense emotions brought on by the pandemic. You can be going along one day, feeling fine, and all of a sudden you are gripped by deep anxiety, stress, terror, despair or depression.
COVID-19 has likely impacted everybody's mental health in some way. Even though people are no longer confined to their homes, the pandemic can still take an emotional toll. World Suicide Prevention Day will be observed Sept. 10, providing a perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of mental health. This is always an important topic, but it is even more so this year, as people are faced with constant news of illness and death, economic devastation, cancelled events and job losses.
Anytime we write about mental health, the advice from experts is the same: Don't struggle alone. As Dr. Nick Mitchell, provincial medical director for Addictions and Mental Health with Alberta Health Services, told our newspaper this week, mental health struggles and suicidal ideation are burdens that do not have to be borne alone. We encourage any of our readers who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide – or with their mental health in general – to reach out, either to someone they trust or to a mental health professional. Find the resources that exist in your community, and take advantage of them.
It's equally important for people who aren't struggling to check in with those they love, as it should not be the sole responsibility of those struggling to ask for help. Ask your friends and your family how they are coping and be available for them if they are facing difficulties.
Throughout this pandemic, a common refrain has been, "We're all in this together." When it comes to mental health, it is important that we continue to lean on each other to get through.