Porcupine Health Unit wants to know how people coped with the pandemic

Over the next couple of weeks, a telephone survey will be conducted on behalf of the health unit as a follow-up to a survey that was conducted two years ago. 

Porcupine Health Unit officials say as the region continues to learn how to live with covid-19, they're committed to improving the mental wellness of the people they serve.

A telephone survey to be conducted by EKOS Research will ask people a few questions.

 “We do encourage you to take the call and take the time to complete the survey. Otherwise, you can always contact the health unit if you want to share some information or some thoughts about mental health and well-being,” said the health unit’s Chantal Riopel

Riopel said this survey will be a follow-up to one conducted in Dec 2020, eight months into the pandemic.

From the 400 respondents at that time, she said more than a quarter of them revealed their mental health had worsened during the pandemic. And, that alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco use had increased in some age groups.

“We want to be able to compare and see what the differences are, how much of the impact it has had on our community members, and if it’s changed, what that looks like.”

Officials with the District School Board Ontario North East said when the community is struggling, its students are struggling. 

Lesleigh Dye said the pandemic has exacerbated issues of food and housing insecurity.

“Some of our schools, more than in the past, are making sure students have food for the weekend. We have some students who are relying on friends and other extended families for shelter.”

As a result, Dye said 20 percent of the 7-thousand students the board serves, requires assessments and or therapeutic support.

The health unit's survey will end on June 3, and the results will be posted on its website. 

Health officials said the information will help them know what type of support the community needs to help people heal.