Expanded lockdown means even more challenges to Quebecers' mental health

Demand for mental health care was already high, but Wednesday's announcement of an impending curfew for Quebecers has some fearing whether the system can keep up.

Lydia Jones of Montreal's Suicide Action Hotline said calls have jumped significantly since September.

“All the factors that make people vulnerable are increased,” she said. “You have isolation, you have job loss, revenue loss or stressors in the family like working at home with children running around.”

Funding for services like the hotline has increased to meet demand, but Nancy Heath, a professor of educational psychology at McGill University, said the expanded lockdown comes with new challenges.

“Every time something changes, there's another demand in terms of cognitive load and mental demands to adapt,” she said. “Generally, humans are pretty good at this. Some of us are better than others, but the constant changing and uncertainty is very stressful.”

Not everyone is struggling. Psychologist Mryna Lashley said there is no need to feel guilty if you're among those who are thriving.

“We're not emphasizing the fact that not everybody has to feel depressed, not everybody has to have mental health difficulties because of this,” she said.

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