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OPG working to support Canadians’ mental health during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the mental health of Canadians.

Through the stresses of lockdowns, social isolation, and uncertainties, Canadians are reporting higher levels of mental stress, anxiety and depression.

Photo of woman in mask during COVID-19 lockdown.
Through the stresses of lockdowns, social isolation, and uncertainties, Canadians are reporting higher levels of mental stress, anxiety and depression.

According to the most recent national poll conducted by charity group Mental Health Research Canada, 23 per cent of Canadians reported feelings of anxiety while 15 per cent said they were suffering from depression, the highest levels to date.

And according to Morneau Shepell’s monthly Mental Health report for December 2020, the mental health of Canadians continues to be in decline, with the working population currently as distressed as the most distressed one per cent of working Canadians, prior to 2020.

OPG recognizes the impacts of the current situation on our mental health. The company continues to make strides to destigmatize mental health issues and help improve the mental health of its employees, while also helping Canadians by providing resources and education.

“Our current environment has had a tremendous impact on our overall mental well-being,” said Aaron Del Pino, Vice-President of Environment, Health and Safety at OPG. “OPG remains committed to supporting its employees and Canadians coping with mental health issues. Over the past year, we have been working to support and educate with compassion and care.”

At the onset of the pandemic, OPG partnered with Morneau Shepell and other corporations to bring WellCan as a free mental health resource. The service is helping Canadians develop coping strategies and build resilience to deal with the uncertainties, stresses, and substance abuse concerns tied to the pandemic.

And last June, OPG teamed up with Jack.org to distribute Be There, a digital mental health resource, to thousands of young Ontarians to help them get through the pandemic and beyond. The resource teaches young people how to support one another through mental health struggles.

Today, the company continues to develop wellness campaigns and provide educational resources and webinars for its employees to help them cope during this challenging time.

“As a company, we hope to make a difference in people’s lives by providing and encouraging access to timely treatment and help to those in need,” Del Pino said.

Despite the current circumstances, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Many remain optimistic they will recover mentally once the pandemic is over, with 65 per cent of Canadians indicating in the recent Mental Health Research Canada poll they remain highly resilient to challenges like COVID-19.