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Building Bridges by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante    

Look for the helpers

as we ride out the third wave of COVID-19

by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante

As of Wednesday, April 28, additional public health restrictions were put into effect for at least four weeks. These include no visitors being allowed into private households, indoors or outdoors, with the exception of allowing one visitor who lives alone. Outdoor gatherings on public property must be kept to a maximum of 10 people. Along with the restrictions on retail outlets, restaurants, gyms, and faith-based organizations, the opportunities to spend time with family and friends are again put on hold.

We know what we have to do in order to curb the spread of this third wave of the pandemic, and it comes at a cost. Most people are tired of restrictions and are looking for a sense of normality. But in order for that to return, we must hang in there and follow public health guidelines. And currently that means staying at home as much as possible, limiting close contacts and getting the vaccine as soon as possible. Experts are saying that it is a race between vaccines and variants, and adhering to these guidelines will help to tip the scales in favour of keeping the pandemic manageable.

To keep mentally strong, we must also look for glimmers of hope around us. With so much disappointment and despair in local, national and global news, it can be a challenge to see the light in the darkness. Yet, they are there – within the hearts of those who are helpers.

For example, India is currently going through a catastrophic surge in COVID-19 cases, and countries all over the world are lending a helping hand. Many, including Canada, are sending medical equipment and supplies. Also, Ontario is undergoing a devastating point in the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs being overwhelmed with cases. Help is being sent from the Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian Red Cross, and other provinces who are sending PPE, other equipment, and health professionals.

There are also so many brave helpers in the form of front-line medical professionals, teachers and school staff, daycare workers, grocery store and essential workers, mental health professionals, clergy and spiritual care providers. Let us not forget the heroes that take care of family members, friends and neighbours by delivering groceries, medications and other essentials. And of course, there are those who call and check-in on loved ones, providing comfort and words of encouragement.

As the late Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

And that, fellow Canadians, is how we will all get through this; by helping one another. Because if there is nothing else you can do to help yourself, there is always the option of helping someone else.

The question is, will you do your part and help?

Cheryl Dizon-Reynante is a licensed therapist with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

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