Learn about how the pandemic is impacting the people of Revelstoke. (Tom Poole Photography/Tourism Revelstoke)

Learn about how the pandemic is impacting the people of Revelstoke. (Tom Poole Photography/Tourism Revelstoke)

Revelstoke survey says mental health and well-being biggest priority amidst pandemic

The survey was done by over 900 people last fall

Submitted

I ❤️ Revy.

The pandemic has been a roller-coaster of emotion for people in Revelstoke, according to recent survey results.

Almost 50 per cent of respondents to the Well-being Survey said they felt worried and almost 40 per cent said they felt overwhelmed. However, similar amounts of people reported feeling hopeful, safe and content. For others, the pandemic has been a plethora of seemingly conflicting emotions, and the resounding sense of grief for the loss of connection.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint my feelings and I think that’s probably true for many people,” said one anonymous survey respondent. “I value my friendships and feel connected, but miss my interactions with friends and, more so, strangers.”

These results are hardly surprising. Many of us sensed the impacts on our families and community. The pandemic is considered a prolonged disaster that is affecting us physically as well as mentally, but the truth is, not all of us are impacted to the same degree nor in the same ways. Residents have been influenced by isolation, job loss, economic factors, and that overall community well-being has decreased significantly, the survey revealed. Among the most heavily impacted are people aged 18-35.

The long term impact of decreased mental health and well-being is general societal decay over time, according to clinical counsellor, Jennifer Wright. This translates directly into more sickness, chronic illness, decreased efficiency at work, decreased interest in contributions to society, loss of independence, relationship decay, increased substance use and more. Prolonged exposure to fear and anxiety, trauma, grief and isolation as we are currently experiencing puts us at risk of these adverse effects of the pandemic.

Well-being survey an important part of the recovery model

In response to the pandemic, the City of Revelstoke created The Recovery Task Force to bring together local service agencies, businesses, government and other key stakeholders. Together, they launched the Community Well-being survey to find out how residents’ housing, employment, finances and mental health are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic over time. 984 people participated over two months.

According to the Justice Institute’s model for community disaster recovery, there are certain steps to follow – mobilizing, organizing resources and developing a system to deliver the needed resources, and finally monitoring the progress.

In order to recover and build resilience as a community, we need to reconnect with each other as a community as well as with the services that are here to help.

Easier said than done, perhaps, but a key part in overcoming the compounded effects of this extended trauma is being vulnerable enough to share our feelings, and ask for help. We know that everyone has been impacted by this pandemic in one way or another; and we also know that we are resilient beings.

In the coming weeks a series called I ❤️ Revy will take a closer look at the ways the pandemic is impacting our community and will share ways to build resilience as individuals, and as a community. We think sharing our own wisdom and insights can help us turn our attention to recovery and noticing what can help us be more resilient in the future.

There is “a lot of uncertainty in the world but [I’m] feeling good about where we live – having outdoor spaces to enjoy and a “safe” community,” said another anonymous survey respondent.

I ❤️ Revy is a collaborative well-being initiative by the City of Revelstoke’s Recovery Task force. Together, the I ❤️ Revy team hopes to build community resilience by sharing information, tips, tools, and stories. Contributors are: Taha Attiah, Lisa Cyr, Jocelyn Doll, Benjamin Dorsey, Simon Hunt, Myles Williamson and Sarah Windsor.

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