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EDITORIAL: The emotional toll of COVID-19

“Mental health is such an important piece of our ongoing response and recovery."

This week the Town of Cochrane was moved onto the provincial government's Enhanced Status under the COVID-19 watch.

In a few short weeks, our COVID-19 numbers have jumped from four active cases to 22.

This is an alarm bell we all need to pay attention to— These growing case numbers not only pose a danger to the physical health of our community, but the mental health as well.

If we do not get a handle on these numbers and actively work as a community to prevent the spread of the virus we will face more stringent health measures that will affect our lives and the local economy.

We are all fatigued it has been a challenging eight months since the virus first arrived. But, we must continue to follow public health protocols including washing our hands, staying home when sick, physical distancing and wearing a mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It can be easy to get caught up in worrying about the virus, be it concern over infection rates spiking or the province facing stringent lockdowns.

This takes a toll on our mental health.

The isolation we are all feeling as we are no longer able to attend community events, visit vulnerable family members or friends, or attend important life events like weddings, funerals or religious ceremonies is a challenge none of us have faced before.

This make is all the more important to look after our physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of both ourselves and our neighbours.

As we move into the holiday season as a community, we need to remain strong as we weather the COVID-19 storm. 

Cochranites are finding innovative ways to connect with others to combat the isolation many in the community are feeling during the pandemic.

Artist MJ Stead has launched a holiday campaign to bring Christmas cards to seniors in the community.

This simple act brings families together to create beautiful artistic creations, while reminding some of our most vulnerable community members they are still valued and cherished.

“It’s something that everybody can do,” Stead said. “For our seniors, this has been really tough on all of them— I think it will put a smile on their face to see all these cards come in.”

The Town of Cochrane also offers support for those seeking support and help during the pandemic.

Cochrane Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has many programs available for those in need be it financial, social or mental aid.

“Mental health is such an important piece of our ongoing response and recovery,” said Cochrane Emergency Coordination Centre and interim fire chief Shawn Polley. “I would strongly recommend that if there are challenges to reach out to your local provider and head over to the Town website for any type of support through our FCSS group.”

COVID-19 will be us for many months to come. As a community, we have a responsibility to look after each other and help keep others physically and mentally healthy.

The months ahead may seem overwhelming, but remember we are stronger together than we are apart.