The government has announced a $31-million investment into a mental health action plan. The plan was presented by Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbeault at Wednesday's press briefing. Health Minister Danielle McCann outlined an initiative that will provide more psychological and mental health resources for those most affected by the pandemic in Quebec.
"Since the pandemic began, 15% of people have reported experiencing distress. This is seven times more than before the health crisis," explained McCann.
"We have many seniors who live in isolation, many essential workers who live with anxiety, and many families whose lives have been turned upside down. Unfortunately, the situation is likely to worsen and continue for the next few weeks and even the next few months."
McCann likened the rise in mental health distress to the curve of the pandemic, making it clear that Quebec must make every effort to flatten this curve.
"The peak of the psychological distress curve comes several weeks after that of the pandemic. We must, therefore, from now on, make efforts to flatten this curve too."
The investment will go towards hiring more mental health professionals, expanding the scale of the province's Info-Social 811 helpline, and "[improving] and [intensifying]" the supply of mental health services.
Throughout the pandemic, the Quebec government installed a number of resources to assist people who are feeling anxiety or distress, McCann said.
#COVID19 - Au Québec, en date du 6 mai 2020 à 13 h, la situation est la suivante : 34 327 cas confirmés 220 604 ana… https://t.co/4hqYfOfzhV— Santé Québec (@Santé Québec) 1588785568.0
"There is already a special program to support bereaved families which includes individual consultations and a helpline. There is also a telephone blitz which has reached 800,000 people who are being followed or awaiting service. And the Aller mieux campaign has been rolled out across different media," explained the Minister.
The government has also issued a number of guides associated with the Aller mieux campaign, which are aimed at people who are feeling stressed or anxious about the pandemic.
A survey conducted in April found that a majority of Quebecers have experienced negative feelings since the beginning of the health crisis. Concern for children's mental health is also on the rise across the province.
#covid19Qc Les infirmières et infirmiers auxiliaires, comme tous les autres professionnels qui œuvrent en Santé, jo… https://t.co/9lQlLZP0V0— Danielle McCann (@Danielle McCann) 1588689732.0
Since the pandemic began, there's been an overall spike in mental health-related issues, especially in patients with pre-existing mental health conditions, reports Global News.
"I want to say to everyone who lives with mental health problems not to hesitate to ask for help. We will be there for you. We will be there to support you," said McCann.
There are 34,327 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec as of May 6, 2020.
Stay tuned for more news.