COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone this year. For young people already struggling with isolation, anxiety, and depression, it has been devastating. And with the lockdown this holiday season, there is no relief in sight.

Losing opportunities for engagement allows our young people more time to sit with negative thoughts and feelings. Maria, our mental health and substance use counsellor, has seen an increase in youth reaching out to her in moments of crisis. At the same time, more young people are struggling to show up to their appointments due to feelings of hopelessness.

The holidays can make our youth feel more alone when they see peers celebrating with loved ones. For others, the holidays mark the one time of the year where youth can try and reconnect with family to gain a sense of normalcy.

As a result, our staff have been more intentional in reaching out to youth through text, video chats, phone conversations, or in person. Maria shares,

“We continuously want to offer opportunities to connect. When we show up for them, it says, ‘I’m invested in you—I see you and care about you’. And the young people are noticing this."

This holiday season will be dramatically different from other years. We are all struggling—some more than others. But if we keep up our efforts to connect, share hope, love, and joy, we can help ensure the essence of the season continues to thrive for us all.