March 11, 2020, started off like any other day. The majority of students were rushing to attend their classes while others were commuting to their respective jobs. The hustle and bustle of the city was validated by the scores of cars and people moving about. In theory, it seemed like any regular day... but this would soon change with the announcement of the Coronavirus.
Many countries were already struggling to keep the virus under control. The fatal blow was dealt when the World Health Organization announced a global pandemic. This announcement ushered in a new era of social distancing in which schools, offices, and air travel were shut down and everyone told to stay home. The world went from a place where you can freely go out and associate with loved ones to a place where even an innocent hug is highly discouraged.
For many young Canadians, this new normal will take a toll on mental health. According to statistics obtained by the Canadian government, 42% of youth ages 15-24 reported excellent or very good mental health during the pandemic compared to 62% in 2018. These figures are understandable since most people are not equipped to deal with the long-term isolation and stress associated with the pandemic.
What is the solution?
How do we deal with this new norm? According to the WHO, the best way to cope during this tough period is to:
- Develop and stick to a routine
- Keep in contact online with those close to you
- Avoid constantly watching and reading news which can lead to anxiety. Instead, use the news to stay informed.
In addition, don't be afraid to reach out for help. For post-secondary students in Ontario, services such as Good2talk provide free 24/7 counselling for those in need.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has brought a difficult time for humanity, things will get better eventually. The important thing now is to stay positive and be aware of your mental health.
If you or a loved one are looking for counselling please check out : https://good2talk.ca/