It’s been one year since the WHO declared the COVID-19 pandemic on March 11, 2020. Three days later, CAMH activated our Incident Command Centre and our pandemic plan. These dates will forever mark our collective memory.
Since then, we’ve shared moments of uncertainty, loneliness, sadness and grief. But there have also been hopeful moments, and it feels like we’re on the brink of brighter days. I think back to the day our community celebrated and encouraged us with a joyful parade, or the generous Slaight Family’s donation of tablets to Gifts of Light so that patients could stay connected to their loved ones. Over these last two weeks of winter, there are concrete reasons to be positive. Canada will push forward with the largest vaccination campaign in our history, and our own vaccine clinic is literally electric with renewed energy. And it will soon be spring.
Over quiet moments last weekend, I re-lived some of the 2020-21 CAMH accomplishments. We delivered on all of our important accountabilities, we navigated a global pandemic, we delivered a new strategic plan, we moved 225 patients into a new hospital, we began the work of addressing oppression and racism, and we launched a national conversation on suicide prevention—all while caring for parents, children, friends, neighbours and ourselves.
It’s not over yet. The pandemic has taken a toll on Ontarians’ mental health. This week, we joined our hospital and community health partners in a unanimous call to action for government to address inequities in access to mental health care. We’ll continue our campaign to make mental health central to our health care system and we’ll prevail.
Whether you are a front-line nurse, a donor or a valued community partner, throughout a year of unique challenges, you’ve continually affirmed your dedication to the people we serve—and I thank you. Thank you for being kind, generous and patient with each other. This is the hallmark of people who care.
Take a moment to reflect and watch this video highlighting some of the key moments over this past year of gravity and growth.