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FORMER NHL GOALIE CONCERNED ABOUT ''MENTAL HEALTH TSUNAMI'' DUE TO CONTINUOUS LOCKDOWNS

MAY 8, 2021  (16H31)      MOJUMBO
Former NHL goaltender and current Sportsnet650 analyst Corey Hirsch issued a statement on Twitter late Friday evening to draw attention to the fact that the current state of affairs relating to the lockdown state that public health officials have imposed on people due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is impacting peoples' mental health in a profoundly negative way.

Hirsch, a noted mental health advocate, fears for the wellbeing of those who were either mentally unwell, or have become mentally unwell throughout the course of the last year-and-change.

"If we keep locking people in their homes the mental health issues that are coming will be unstoppable. I'm all for protecting the most vulnerable, however the mental health tsunami that's coming from this is going to be massive. Some provinces are destroying people in other ways," Hirsch said on Twitter on Friday.

He has engaged in dialogue with several of his followers in the thread as well, firmly backing his stance on what type of impact these lockdowns have had on people. In one reply, a woman referred to Hirsch's original tweet as "propaganda fodder", cautioning that over 500,000 people in the states have died of COVID-19 due to very relaxed restrictions.

"The impact on mental health is staggering," Hirsch said in his reply. "Nobody is saying that the pandemic isn't horrific, but the response to the effects this has on mental health has been widely ignored. See my previous tweets on the numbers then tell me if you think this [lockdown] is still the solution," he continued.

The numbers that Hirsch is referring to are the 137% increased volume of calls to the Kids Help Line (1-800-668-6868) and the 4300 active suicide rescues that the amazing resource is reporting. The help line had jumped from 1.9M annual calls from 2019-2020 to 4.6M annual calls from 2020-21.

Hirsch cautions that the trauma is slow-growing and not immediate and, as such, it is really hard to notice the onset, which can be very dangerous. As is often the case with children, we can't see the warning signs and by the time we do, it may be too late for some.

There's no doubt that this virus has impacted everyone, regardless of what age demographic you fall under, but there is no denying that our children are the ones who are suffering most from this pandemic. A lot of them cannot go to school, see their friends, have sleepovers, have birthday parties, have access to their outlets, such as organized or recreational sports and their needs are often placed behind the needs of adults, who are also trying to navigate their way through this pandemic.

Many times, you can assume that if kids have their three meals, clothes on their backs and things to entertain themselves with at home, they're fine and have nothing to worry about. However, it's those peer connections that they lack that are causing the most problems for their mental health. Not being able to see the people that they've always seen every day can weigh on them in ways that we, as adults cannot understand. And it's not limited to just their friends, but also extended family members that they may not get to see as often, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and even kids in their own neighborhood.

Isolation can do a lot of damage, especially to a child or adolescent. The emotional hardships that they have incurred already, just in terms of the social aspect of things and the drastic change in their daily routine is staggering and can effect them in ways that we don't yet understand.

Add to that the fact that some children live in homes where parents can have a tendency to not be present, missing meals, missing the guidance and structure that a school might otherwise supply. And what of those children who live in an abusive environment, whether that be substance (drugs or alcohol) or even physical and emotional abuse? Without the escape of school, sports and other activities that allow them some time away from home, they are forced to endure life within their four walls without the intermittent salvation that the freedom to go places and to do things they enjoy can provide.

I think we can all agree that this pandemic has impacted everyone enough already, and that we have all experienced our moments of weakness, where we crack and buckle under the weight of the 14 months or so.

I'll leave you with this. Check in on your friends. Check in on your family, and especially your children. This may not be over for awhile yet and we really do owe it to ourselves and to one another to spread a little extra kindness where and when we can. I'm thankful that people like Hirsch exist and are fighting the good fight and flagging issues like this, especially when it comes to acknowledging the mental health of our kids.



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