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Tackling Mental Health during a Pandemic

1 in 5 Canadians experience or struggle with mental health. With so much negativity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no surprise that more Canadians are reporting feeling anxious and depressed. Carefor staff know it’s up to them to make a difference, now more than ever.

Long-time Carefor PSW Dianne Villeneuve knows firsthand the impact mental health can have on her clients and their families overall well-being. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dianne and other in-home care providers have been a steady support addressing physical needs through prevention of COVID-19, and emotional needs through comfort and compassion.

“Every day, you hear something in the news that you know might upset a client. It then becomes my mission to make their day better by talking or doing something together. Not only that, it’s so important to remind them the importance of wearing masks and sanitizing as there are so many differing opinions in the media. They are scared.”

She sometimes finds herself caring not only for her clients but also their spouse. She recalled a client’s wife she sees every week, and how she was missing the Adult Day Program at another care facility. It means the world to her husband that while Dianne is caring for him, Dianne sets her up with activities like music, a TV show, or other thing she enjoys while caring for him.

“Seeing them smile makes my day, and that in turn impacts my mental health. We do the best we can to help them. You have to be willing to open your heart, not just your mind and take those emotional steps needed to live a long happy life.”

Although some days are harder than others, Dianne feels that supporting her clients mental health is a part of her job: “It’s your profession. You’re in this job because you want to help people. In some ways, we’re lucky because we’re trained to handle situations like this better than others.”

That said, knowing when to reach out for more help is important, even for Carefor staff: “Sometimes people may find they need counselling, for others keeping physically active and finding that daily routine makes a big difference. In the end, you need to find what works for you, and keep going.”

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