COVID-19 has shaken up our lives in a million ways, and one of the biggest impacts has been on our mental health. The stats are in, and they’re not looking great.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s July 2021 survey, over half of American adults reported that the pandemic had negatively affected their mental health. And it’s not just adults feeling the strain — a survey by the National Association of School Psychologists found that students are also struggling with increased anxiety and depression.

Similarly, the Canadian Mental Health Association’s survey conducted in May 2021 found that 77 per cent of Canadians reported that their mental health had worsened since the pandemic began, up from 40 percent reported in April 2020. The survey also revealed that young adults, women, and those with lower incomes were more likely to report declines in mental health.

But it’s not just about feeling a bit down. Studies have shown that COVID-19 survivors have a higher risk of developing mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and even dementia. And if you’re a person of colour, the pandemic has hit even harder — a study by the American Psychological Association found that Black, Latinx, and Asian American individuals were more affected by the pandemic’s mental health impacts.

It’s a tough time, and mental health resources have been stretched thin. However, prioritizing mental health support and resources is more crucial than ever. Access to care is vital for everyone to effectively cope with the ongoing challenges of this difficult time.

Reach out to a mental health professional if you are struggling to cope with stress or anxiety. Remember to prioritize your mental health by incorporating these tips into your daily routine:

  1. Practice self-care: Make time for activities that help you feel relaxed and refreshed, like exercise or reading.
  2. Stay connected: Connect with friends and family who can provide emotional support.
  3. Limit news and social media: Too much exposure can increase anxiety and stress.
  4. Get enough sleep: Aim for 7 to 9 hours per night to support your physical and mental health.
  5. Practice mindfulness: Focus on the present moment and your breath.

Be kind to yourself, and remember that it’s okay to ask for help.