A balanced approach is needed

My Nikkel’s Worth column

Good mental health is always important, and indeed is being highlighted across Canada right now for Mental Health Week.

Due to the restrictions imposed thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost nothing is being held in person for this week, but there are online presentations on mental health available, which the Weyburn CMHA is a part of.

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What is good mental health for you? It’s different for everyone, and yet the base principle is the same: you need to have good self-care, and take care of yourself, such as relieving stress, or having someone you can talk to when the weight of the world is on your shoulders.

Unfortunately, these days much of the stress is being caused by the public health restrictions, imposed out of a fear of the pandemic virus spreading more in the community.

When public health is superimposed over everything, why is it that mental health is not considered in any way to be an important factor?

When restrictions are made like shutting down events and classroom learning, for example, this is a major downer on the mental health of everyone, children included, and that is simply not acceptable. Restrictions need to include input from those who deal with mental health issues — we can’t simply put public health above us as the ultimate authority without regard for the cost, the toll it’s taking on our economy and on our lives.

Now please don’t get me wrong, this is not a rant on the evils of mask-wearing or whatever. This is a genuine concern that we need a more balanced approach to how we deal with this virus.

The simple fact is, this is a virus — it is not going away, and vaccines are not a cure. The vaccines (when we’re able to get them) are a way to deal with the impact of COVID if we get infected with it — a mitigation factor, if you will.

It will be helpful when a good majority of people can get the vaccine, as this should lower the number of people who will need hospitalization from it. Really, it’s no different from the flu vaccine in that way, as I have found from personal experience.

As an aside, I wish health officials or politicians would stop referring to “herd immunity” — we are not cattle, okay? We are not a herd. We are people who need to get back to life, not watching everything on Zoom or on Netflix.