“Usually in a month or two after that initial reaction (pandemic), a kind of fatigue and disillusionment begin to set in and we’re definitely there now,” said Pamela Downe, medical anthropologist.
“We’re seeing that not only here in Saskatoon, but also all around the world. There’s a sense of disbelief, of abandonment, of disruption.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, she says it was normal for people to want to help in the community, focusing more on taking care of each other rather than themselves.
As time goes on, Downe says people start to feel the downside of the pandemic.
“This can have a long term impact on people, not only individually, but psychologically. Anytime you bear the burden of anxiety and fear over a long period of time, it wears on you,” Downe said.
“It makes you less motivated, less connected to everyday life.”
Downe says the pandemic is also having an effect in terms of how people identify collectively as a community.
“We begin to disband rather than draw together, as we did in those early few months,” Downe said.
“That can have a long term effect because people lose friends, friendships, social networks are severed.”
If a second wave of the coronavirus does hit, Downe says it’s important for people to stay connected to what’s going on around them.
“What’s really important for all of us to remember is that we’re all part of this community and we need community leaders who also garner and foment that sense of collectiveness,” Downe said.
“That is really the way forward in keeping people attuned to the messages and keeping people as safe as we possibly can.”
A new study from Deloitte suggests Canadians, especially women, will face a potentially explosive increase in mental illness for years after the pandemic is over.
“This is a human crisis. Our previous research on the impact of natural disasters on humans shows that once the public health and economic crises have subsided, the human crisis will endure for months, if not years,” the study said.
The study estimates that 6.3 million to 10.7 million Canadians will visit a doctor for mental health issues — a whopping 54 to 163 per cent increase over pre-pandemic levels.
— With files from The Canadian Press