Words of Encouragement
Well, it has now been over one year since we have been challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic. I recognize that it has been a challenging and stressful time for our employees, clients, partners and the community in general.
It has also had a huge impact on the programs and services we provide here at CMHA-CVB. Many difficult decisions have had to be made including shutting down and cutting back services. Our recipients of service - shelter guests, children, youth and families have been greatly impacted as a result of our decisions. Each of these decisions have been made supported by the guiding principle of "Ensuring Safety for All". These decisions have also been supported by our local and provincial public health officials.
CMHA-CVB is committed to supporting mental health needs in the community, and we are also equally committed to supporting staff wellness in our organization. We recognize that coping with Covid-19 brings with it increased stress and anxiety, experiences of loss and grief, uncertainty, and the loss of connection due to social distancing constraints.
Covid-19 has brought "trauma" to our organizations, to the people we work with, and to those we serve. It is important that we all take care of ourselves and each other. Our mental health matters!
Together, we must learn to navigate through the good days and the bad days. So, during Mental Health Week (May 3-9, 2021) I am inviting you to consider the following Self Care Tips:
- Know that we are all in this together.
- Do not isolate - stay connected to people who support, care, and love you. Let your cell phone, computer and social media be your social distance line to keep you connected.
- Learn to be kind to yourself. Create and follow a self care plan. You are worth it. "Self Care is not Selfish".
- Learn to be kind to others. Many people are fighting battles we are not aware of. The sound of your voice or your smile may be the medicine they need. Sometimes the act of helping others helps us.
- Stop occasionally to count your blessings. Many of us are fortunate to be alive, have good health, a home, a job, and family and friends that love us. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
- Access the Support Services/Mental Health Services you need. The side effects of the pandemic include: increased mental health issues, stress and anxiety, increased use of alcohol and drugs, relapses, overdoses and suicide. Depression is fueled by loss and grief. Pay attention to how you and those around you are coping. There is no shame in reaching out. Resources are available to help you find a path forward. Be an advocate for your family, friends and colleagues who may need help and support.
- Fight loneliness, isolation, and anxiety by searching for joy and moments of connection. Focus on what makes you feel nourished. Feed yourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Take care of yourself at home and at work. Practice kindness and gratitude. Be affirming, respectful, genuine and kind. Let your team contribute to your well-being. Enjoy the health benefits of fun and laughter. Promote being a part of a healthy and strong team.
- Be a warrior - do not let the pandemic take you down. Talk about what's happening for you, listen to others, support one another. Give hope power - hope towards a better future. Have faith in yourself and others - and battle for wellness and change.
- Breathe and go outside - earth and sky, woods, flowers and fields, lakes, rivers and oceans, mountains and landscapes, sun, rain and rainbows can be the best medicine. They protect our sense of wonder and our belief in "hope".
You matter! Your health and wellbeing contributes a healthy community. Thank you for supporting our collective work and remember... we are better standing together!!
Lise Haddock, Executive Director
CMHA Cowichan Valley Branch