Hon. Myrna Driedger
Broadway Journal

COVID-19 has come into our lives and changed so many aspects. When this pandemic first began, few of us understood the long time frame during which our lives would be affected. These months have been long and the challenges have been tiresome. 

Mental Health and a post-pandemic Manitoba

At the beginning of my articles, I try to draw attention to the mental health resources available through the Province of Manitoba. Have a look at these resources available at https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/bewell/ . At your fingertips is a crisis line for anyone in immediate need, two sessions of virtual counselling, free and confidential online mental health virtual therapy through AlibityCBT, and links to external organizations who work hard to help Manitobans. Organizations like Kids Help Line, the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support, and also the many local mental health and addictions organizations. These organizations work hard to support those in need. 

Sometimes, we don’t think of ourselves as ‘in need of help’. It’s important that we take good care of ourselves during these stressful time. Take the time to stop, address the challenges in your life, and reach out to professionals. Health and well-being must be supported by a network of people who can share your experiences with you. Don’t try and manage by yourself. Talk to family and friends and use the resources in your community. Mental health is health. It is just as important as tending to a broken bone or a sprained ankle. We must reach out to the proper professionals like health care providers, and professional counsellors- we wouldn’t try to fix a broken arm on our own, would we? For so many Manitobans, this past year and a half has been tremendously challenging. Understand that you are not alone in your struggles and always remember that it’s okay to not be okay. 

Recently, our public health professionals have begun to speak about a post-pandemic Manitoba. This is great progress and something to be so happy about. We have reached this point because of the creation of a vaccine and the roll out of this vaccine. Thank you to all of you who have received your vaccine! If you know anyone who is hesitant to book their vaccine, encourage them to seek proper guidance. It’s important that we get our COVID-19 information from reliable sources like our doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, and scientists who have all dedicated their lives to research and health. Questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine are best directed to these amazing professionals. 

As more and more of our population gets vaccinated, there is hope of a post-pandemic Manitoba. For many Manitobans, that can cause a bit of worry and anxiety. After all, we’ve had to rearrange or change many aspects of our lives to mitigate the threat of COVID-19. Where we could once gather in groups and socialize in person, we’ve been seeing each other virtually or making do with phone calls. We’ve spent over a year avoiding crowds and doing the things we usually do. I know for myself, the opportunity to dine at a restaurant was such a treat. Throughout the pandemic, my family ordered takeout as often as we could, but we missed the opportunity to enjoy our meal on a patio or in house. But making that transition isn’t easy. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an increase in many people’s levels of stress and anxiety. Our lives have changed and we’ve had cause to worry about our health more than ever before. We’ve been worried for ourselves and also for our loved ones. Because of the vaccine, we are now able to plan for a post-pandemic life. And that too, can be a stressful reality for many. It’s okay to feel nervous, to feel stressed, and to be overwhelmed by the ongoing changes in our lives. It’s okay to not be okay. Mental health is health. Be sure to reach out and use the mental health resources available. 

The vaccine and Manitobans vaccine uptake has made planning for a post-pandemic Manitoba possible. Thank you so much to all the Manitobans who have already received the vaccine and I encourage all those who haven’t already done so to book your vaccine appointment today! 

Hon. Myrna Driedger is MLA for Roblin and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.