The Omicron variant could also be testing your resolve to start 2022 with a dedication to wellness. Definitely, it appears there’s a shared sense of frustration and fatigue throughout the nation within the face of one more pandemic surge. Proof-based digital instruments will help help psychological well being and well-being throughout one other COVID-19 winter.
For a lot of Canadians, COVID-19 has already taken a toll on their psychological well being, with one in 4 reporting signs of melancholy, nervousness or post-traumatic stress in 2021, in response to Statistics Canada. This is a rise from one in 5 the earlier yr.
Of those that reported signs of a number of of those psychological well being challenges — together with a better proportion of younger folks managing melancholy and/or nervousness — 94 per cent indicated that they had been negatively affected by the pandemic.
Even earlier than the pandemic there have been obstacles for a lot of Canadians in search of psychological well being care inside strained methods. The mixture of elevated affected person numbers with constraints to care attributable to COVID-19 resulted in requires Canada to extend entry to digital instruments for psychological well being help and wellness.
As a part of its annual digital well being survey, Canada Well being Infoway reported 51 per cent of individuals surveyed had been eager about getting access to e-mental well being companies in 2021.
In a digital world that more and more options an “app for that” it is very important have good details about the standard, price and supposed use of digital psychological well being and wellness instruments.
As a part of our work to attach Canadians to evidence-based digital well being and wellness sources, Gillian Strudwick led a evaluate of digital interventions that may very well be used to help psychological well being throughout the nation in the course of the pandemic. With this info we went on to discover how using textual content messaging may very well be used to attach these searching for psychological well being and wellness helps to those curated sources.
The end result was SaskWell, a texting service for residents of Saskatchewan that gives 10 weeks of psychological well being and wellness prompts. SaskWell was designed in partnership with a affected person and neighborhood advisory committee, bringing the voices and wishes of Saskatchewan residents into this text-based service.
The service goals to attach people throughout the province with wanted helps by probably the most generally accessible know-how. Cell phones are a comparatively low-tech intervention with widespread attain, particularly in areas the place web connectivity could also be sparse or unreliable.
Customers who join the service are linked with established and evidence-based digital psychological well being instruments together with weekly wellness ideas and sources, offering customers with abilities to handle their self care and well-being. Residents of Saskatchewan could join SaskWell at any time by texting “JOIN” to 759355.
SaskWell shouldn’t be a disaster help device, neither is it a scientific psychological well being intervention. It’s, nevertheless, a degree of connectivity and a reminder concerning the significance of investing time in private wellness, particularly as we face the challenges of this winter season.
Weekly wellness messages
Emotions of loneliness or isolation are one of many major results of the pandemic for Canadians who’re managing psychological well being issues. Statistics Canada discovered that “a better proportion of youthful Canadians reported experiencing a minimum of one of many impacts, akin to emotions of loneliness or a rise in bodily well being issues” in 2021. Almost half of all Canadians have famous growing stress ranges.
SaskWell customers have recognized weekly messages as a optimistic level of connectivity of their wellness efforts. These messages arrive a number of instances every week, and per consumer suggestions can now be scheduled for sure days and instances by way of textual content.
In case you are in Saskatchewan, now’s the time to textual content JOIN, and provides your self 10 weeks of help in your wellness efforts. One good thing about the service is that the messaging is tailor-made to deal with the present wants of customers, and proper now we’re collaborating on messaging to see us all by one other COVID-19 winter.
This features a partnership with the College of Saskatchewan School of Engineering college students’ society. As college students proceed to navigate shifts of their studying panorama, along with managing the various different disruptions of their pandemic lives, we hope easy accessibility to digital psychological well being and wellness instruments supplies optimistic help.
In case you are not in Saskatchewan, you will discover psychological well being sources by most provincial 211 applications, or you should utilize this hyperlink to evaluate a curated checklist of internet sites and apps.
Irrespective of how you intend to help your personal wellness within the weeks forward, keep in mind that any effort — even a small and seemingly most elementary step — remains to be worthwhile. Even for those who really feel as if you may have had many of those instruments or optimistic coping mechanisms on repeat for months, they’re nonetheless important.
Tracie Risling receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Well being Analysis* (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Analysis Council (SSHRC) and the Saskatchewan Well being Analysis Basis* (SHRF) *funders of SaskWell.
Gillian Strudwick receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Well being Analysis.