The Holiday season is usually a time where friends and family gather as they celebrate this magical time of Christmas, reminiscing on all the good things the year has brought them while being able to appreciate the presence of their loved ones. A positive time filled with joy, love and happiness. Like many things this year, however, the holiday season will be drastically different. People will most likely spend it alone, isolated and depressed. This will only further damage the morale of our broken nation.
Since Canadian lockdowns began in mid-March, drug overdoses and suicides have drastically increased, and it has only gotten worse. Along with this, many are struggling with depression and mental illness, and limiting the human-to-human contact this season will only exacerbate the problem. Alcoholism has also been a major issue across countries that have implemented lockdowns.
According to a survey published Monday by the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, “With each week of a COVID-19 lockdown, the risk for binge drinking goes up among those who drink. Based on the survey, conducted during the first four weeks of COVID-19 lockdowns in the United States, in March and April, the stress during these periods significantly increased the risk for binge drinking — especially among those with a history of depression or heavy drinking. The longer survey participants were under a stay-at-home order, the more likely they were to binge drink, researchers said. The odds of increased alcohol intake for binge drinkers — men who, within two hours, consume five or more drinks, and women who consume four or more — is 60%, compared to 28% for people who do not drink excessively.”
In addition to these frightening statistics, churches and gyms, two places where people seek aid and improve their mental health have been forced into a lockdown in many areas. I believe that the government should reverse these policies immediately in order to aid Canadians with their spiritual wellness and overall well being. These institutions play an important role in many people’s lives and if reopened it would help Canadians deal with the COVID-19 crisis in a more adequate fashion.
The vast majority of Canadians have suffered financially as well. The pandemic has crushed small businesses. There has been a massive transfer of wealth across the Western world, massive corporations have seen record-breaking amounts of profit while local shops suffer from irresponsible governmental policy and not being able to operate or conduct business with customers. Unemployment has skyrocketed and if things don’t change soon, rent freezes will expire and mass evictions across Canada will occur. This will have a horrific effect on the average Canadian.
A new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) found that almost half of small business owners surveyed have suffered from mental health issues because of the pandemic. “Fewer than 30 percent of small businesses are making their usual sales”, said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, and the uncertainty of the pandemic is causing a lot of stress. “It’s particularly stressful for business owners because their livelihoods are impacted,” she said.
Steve Joordens, a professor of psychology with the University of Toronto Scarborough said that, “Business owners have two levels of stress going on: the health threat, which everyone is facing, and the economic threat to the business that likely supports them and their family.”
This pandemic has had a horrific effect on Canadian businesses, citizens and morale. We must come together and support each other through these trying times. Shop local and check up on your friends and family. Seek support if you’re not mentally well, we will get through this and come out stronger on the other side. Stay positive and vigilant.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.