COVID-19: Preserving your Mental Health: What are they saying in the Province of Quebec

The Quebec Magazine L’actualité in its December 2020 edition had a lengthy article entitled “Comment aller Mieux” (How do get by better) and it had comments from 20 experts to help readers improve their mental health and live through the next few pandemic months in the most serenely way possible. I have attempted to translate the most interesting provisions from French into English.

This gloomy epidemic sometimes called a phase of disillusionment is all quite normal explains Melissa Généreux who is an expert in public health and preventative medicine at the University of Sherbrooke. She added with a major pandemic at play people muster all their resources to manage the situation and the production of adrenaline reaches its height. It is impossible to sustain this and in the long run it will cause damage.

As Jean-Michel Longneaux of The University of Namur in Belgium says the pandemic has ruined the pillars of Western civilization. Panic has set in because people are unsure of what to do. Experts are squabbling about the best strategy is  to remain isolated, social distance, wear a mask and what treatments? We don’t know what foot to dance on and it is painful to see that science can be incorrect and does not always speak with absolute truth.

Before the pandemic many economies were on a roll but day after day it is bankruptcy and unemployment with countries creating deficits the size of elephants. It is like everything has been taken away suddenly and people fear they have lost control of their life.  Confidence in the future is low and personal anguish high. Many people have lost their footing and have fallen into depression because reality is very hard to swallow. Longneaux says, “The old world is dead and the new world is rising in insecurity suddenly creating monsters. The monsters have now been unleashed.”

Melissa Généreux completed some research of 6,260 Quebecers recently and found that some handled the pandemic better than others particularly those who could maintain consistency. If a person can in a period of crisis realize what is happening and can realize what is aggravating their suffering then re-evaluate their values and objectives can lead a satisfactory life in these new constrained conditions. Généreux discovered that those who had a sense of consistency were 4 times less likely to be depressed and 5 times less likely to contemplate suicide. Being objectively stressed plays a major role in mental health.

Généreux was also interested in the source of information on the pandemic that can leave one swimming in false information that can help bring on depression.

Jean-Michel Longneaux comments that some people hold on to the notion that they are all powerful and that they can control their destiny and then later find their life in flames their whole existence threatened this may cause drastic anguish and suffering to the point of driving some to suicide.

Next: Women in the pandemic

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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