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2020 - The Year For Change

None of us asked for what happened this year. No one deserved what this year brought us. Not just a global pandemic, but tragic events like what occurred in Nova Scotia with the largest mass killing in Canadian history and the murder of George Floyd in the US. A common thread through all these moments has been human beings experiencing pain and suffering. Yet out of that have come reminders of what is truly important.

If you are anything like me, being in physical proximity to those you care about is not just wanted but required. The suffering we have all gone through being unable to hold and visit with our loved ones was for a purpose. It was to keep those most vulnerable healthy. The cost for some was mental anguish. As much as we did our best to remain connected through remote means, this physical separation was not an easy one. For those already predisposed to mental illness, the pandemic likely made things harder. But we are also seeing people who have not previously had mental health issues experience increased distress. We are just at the start of a long and difficult time. This is not going away any time soon and the proper system has to be put in place to respond to it effectively. As we enter this second wave and need to limit our interactions once again, its important to reflect and regroup.

Our society does not need to go back to what it was before….we need to do better than we did before. The mental health system has received an influx of funds for things like online/remote counselling. Our hospitals cleared beds, and hallway waits for admission to adult mental health wards were often nonexistent. These are circumstances that must continue beyond the pandemic. We have seen that it can be done. There are no more excuses to be made. It’s an opportunity to build a better system moving forward and we will need it. This situation is not going away any time soon and we must respond effectively to the mental health challenges looming before us. Not doing so will cost lives.

I have to believe that this year came to us because change needed to happen. 2020 is our time to pave the future in the way it needs to be paved. We can no longer afford to leave anyone in our society behind. The cost of doing nothing or staying the same, both financially and emotionally, is way too high. People’s live are at stake. Let’s demand that our leaders find a new way forward. Only if we raise our voices can real change happen. I have raised mine. Will you do the same?


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