Same Ocean, Different Boat
Mental Health in an Unequal world
The Pandemic has been hard for everyone, but it would be careless to say that everyone has faced the same challenges equally. The Pandemic has been ongoing for 2 years now, which means we have had to learn entirely new ways of life. We’ve had no choice but to adapt, reshaping how entire infrastructures operate in order to persevere. Infrastructures like school systems, childcare, business operations and health services are some of the many that have been affected. But there is a silver lining to all this, mental health sectors have been able to make major advancements by rethinking definitions of Mental health care. In light of new studies, we are reimagining what a healthy state of mental wellbeing actually is and how we can achieve it.
Impacts on Work-Life Balance
There has been an increased demand for women, particularly in their home management roles in both low- and high-income households. While mothers in low-income households have been working on the frontlines, acting as a homemaker, and struggling with childcare or financial difficulties, higher-income mothers have been juggling working from home, schooling children, tending to house management, and struggling to find a work-life balance. Both come with stress, anxiety, fear and depression.
Impacts of the Pandemic on Children
You would think children have suffered the most during the pandemic when in fact, it has been mothers who have been the most affected. Although young children are affected, it’s more by pandemic restrictions than the pandemic itself, with adolescents being affected more substantially. This is because they are feeling loneliness due to isolation in a time when peer relationships are crucially important to a human’s mental health development. There are now studies on managing and alleviating loneliness with the majority focused on both group and personalized individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Inequality of Mental Health Services during the Pandemic
Services are available but most are offered virtually, meaning more time online and for some that is the challenge. Remember how we pointed out that everyone has faced challenges in their own ways? Here is one of those challenges, not everyone is equipped with the same tools or time, so despite mental health services being available online now, that doesn’t mean everyone has access to them. Canada has one of the highest cell phone and internet costs, which surprisingly, has not been talked about during the pandemic. Such high costs put people at a disadvantage regardless of mental health adversity in both metropolitan and rural areas from access to appropriate treatments.
The Pandemic made permanent changes to many things including virtual potentials for almost all businesses. Even the delivery of mental health interventions changed overnight. Despite long-standing concerns of the practitioner’s use of technology, and randomized controlled trials of Internet-based psychological treatments (mostly CBT) for mental health conditions, virtual counselling has proven to be effective.
Psychological interventions are now recognized as a key force to improve health care across the world. With the dramatic improvement of digital technology, access to mental health care and mental wellbeing services are becoming more widely known and available, reaching all corners of the world.
About the Author:
Dr. Sanjay Rao is an experienced teacher and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. In 2018, he was awarded a Fellowship of the Canadian Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for his contribution to CBT in Canada. He has received an award from the Department of Health, UK for CBT development. He is the Director of Unified CBT Academy and the Medical Director at the Center for Mental & Psychological Health. To find out more about Dr. Rao you can review his profile.