The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought great disruption to virtually every aspect of our lives, but one of the biggest impacts has been on our collective mental health. The crisis has given rise to many issues that can be detrimental to one’s mental wellbeing, such as loss of employment, loss of a loved one to the virus, or just the mental toll of being stuck at home during self-quarantine.
However, those doing community service work in locations such as addiction treatment centres, crisis centres, women’s shelters, or youth group homes can provide help and services to those that have been particularly impacted by COVID-19.
While the pandemic has been a trying time in many different ways for just about everyone, there are plenty of methods a community service worker can use to help people maintain their mental wellbeing. Here are three ways community service workers can help those in need with their mental health during the pandemic.
CSWs Can Help Clients in a Variety of Difficult Situations Through the Crisis
If your choice of environment during community service work is as a crisis intervention worker, there are many scenarios in which you provide the help people need during this pandemic.
For example, you could have clients who have recently lost a loved one to the virus, or have found themselves out of work. You could also have a client who is a victim of domestic abuse, a situation that may have been exacerbated by staying home in quarantine.
Or, you could have clients who generally feel anxious, overwhelmed, or fearful of the impact the pandemic will have on their employment, finances, or their overall future. In these situations, a person who has done their community service worker training can provide help or counselling — even if just in the short-term —in order to help clients cope with their circumstances, and feel more able to navigate them.
Working in Addictions After Community Service Worker Training
Another population that has been particularly impacted by the pandemic is those who have struggled with addiction. For example, substance abuse, such as alcoholism or excessive drug use, is at risk of increasing during crisis situations like this.
These circumstances can incite greater feelings of stress and anxiety in people, and this can be even more of an issue for those who have grappled with addiction problems in life. Additionally, clients who would typically spend time in an addictions centre likely cannot visit one right now, or are wary of visiting one out of fear of contracting COVID-19.
A community service worker can provide these clients with counsel on how to manage their problems during the crisis, as well as positive habits they can develop in order to cope.
Point Clients in the Direction of Resources That Can Help Them
While the pandemic is undeniably a trying time for virtually everyone, you can use the knowledge you’ve gained from community service worker courses to help clients through the crisis. One way to do so is by informing them of services and companies who can provide them with further assistance.
In Ontario, resources include the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), Ementalhealth.ca (an initiative from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, if you have younger clients), the Ontario COVID-19 Mental Health Network, and the Ontario Psychological Association. Clients from outside Ontario can reach out to services like Wellness Together Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). Although community service workers can provide support and counsel to those in need, be sure they know that other resources are also available to them.
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