News Pandemic feeling of isolation can be harmful to young people’s mental health SHARE ON: Bob McIntyre, staff Monday, May. 3rd, 2021 (NEOFACS) It’s Mental Health Week, and Northeastern Ontario Family and Children’s Services recognizes that child and youth mental health is particularly important during the COVID-19 lockdown. Director of services Josée Bélanger says it stems from the lack of routine usually gained from school and other activities, as well as a lack of social interaction. “Especially during the pandemic,” she states, “we recognize that children and youth and with remote learning may be more isolated than they’d like from their peers and this can definitely have an impact on your emotional wellbeing.” Bélanger encourages several steps to combat that, including being active by riding a bike, taking a walk or anything else that changes things up. The NEOFACS website offers virtual activities all week to help you cope with the situation. Counselling and therapy are also available, all paid for by the Ministry of Health. “As well for those children and youth at risk of (doing) harm to themselves or others, we have an immediate response 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Bélanger points out. It’s all free of charge. Check out the NEOFACS website here.