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Community Support Can Ease the Mental Stress of COVID

Community Support Can Ease the Mental Stress of COVID

By Catherine Campbell

In the first wave of the pandemic, our course of action at The Berkeley was to keep residents safe and healthy, both mentally and physically. We considered them a ‘family’ or, as it is now coined, a ‘bubble’. We felt strongly about keeping residents active and engaged while also safe from COVID. We closely monitored staff and caregivers coming in and out of our buildings. Most importantly, we established safety protocols within our buildings so residents could live happily and safely within their community. That is not to say our residents were not concerned about COVID nor that they were unaffected by the inability to see family and friends. Times were tough and we were working to create a best-case scenario for everyone. Our approach helped both staff and residents feel a semblance of calm during a chaotic time.

With all the recent discussion around increased cases in Nova Scotia and community spread, it is easy to feel an ominous sense of foreboding especially as the holiday season approaches. It was tough the first time our lives were shut down, but now we know what we did not know the first time. The extreme and prolonged isolation felt by many was a reality none of us wish to experience again. It challenged the state of everyone’s mental health to have life change so dramatically in the blink of an eye.

Our mental well-being is paramount, and we need to be proactive. Self-care and staying connected to the one’s we love as well as things we enjoy is crucial. Recognizing the struggles of others and helping them find ways to cope is one approach family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and even strangers can take to be supportive. As a community we must be kind, understanding and compassionate. Not everyone possesses the tools to cope mentally and emotionally through this unprecedented time and every day is different for each of us without undue stress. We must remain mindful of the various ways this pandemic is impacting people.

If we are plunged into another lockdown, The Berkeley will take the same approach as in the first wave. We will work diligently to keep our residents safe while encouraging them to stay active and engaged, upbeat and positive. This pandemic has not only taken lives but has also created an unbearable sense of loss. As a community, we have an obligation help each other through this period.

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