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BGH sees increase in mental health concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Brockville General Hospital (BGH) says they have seen an increase in mental health concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospital explains their Mental Health Department will be reviewing mental health and addictions trends in the community over the next several weeks.

BGH says the pandemic has left many to struggle with changes to routines and feelings of uncertainty as the impact of the virus continues to unfold. They say psychological reactions to outbreaks including COVID-19 are common and include anxiety, depression, stress, sleep disturbances, reduced feelings of safety, scapegoating, increased substance use, such as cannabis and alcohol. They also include physical symptoms, such as lack of energy and general aches and pains, and increased use of medical resources.

The Statistics Canada Canadian Perspectives Survey Series found 54-percent of Canadians aged 15 and older reported excellent or very good mental health during the COVID-19 period. 68-percent of Canadians aged 15 and older said that their mental health was excellent or very good in the 2018 Canadian Community Health Survey. BGH says among those aged 15 to 24, 42-percent reported excellent or very good mental health during the pandemic compared to 62% in 2018. In late March, almost one quarter of Canadians aged 25 to 64 reported that they would likely lose their main job or primary source of self-employment income in the four weeks that followed.

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BGH says they are building capacity in their Outpatient Mental Health Service to provide rapidly accessible and user-friendly virtual services. For a virtual visit, a clinician will contact the patient by telephone or using audio-video conferencing software, on a computer or smartphone.

The hospital says these assessment and psychotherapeutic services are provided by a team of regulated health professionals. The services provided include:

  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • interpersonal therapy
  • dialectical behavioural therapy
  • other psychotherapeutic services appropriate to the patient’s clinical needs.

After the pandemic, virtual services will remain an important feature of BGH Outpatient Mental Health Services, according to the hospital.

If a patient is experiencing urgent mental health concerns like thoughts of harming themselves or others, they feel they may act on, they are required to attend their nearest emergency department or call the BGH crisis line at 613-345-4600 or 1-866-281-2911 or 9-1-1.

The hospital also reminds that virtual care is not a substitute for going to a hospital emergency department if urgent care is required.

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