Transcript: Coping with Pandemic Burnout | May 11, 2020

Steve sits in a room with white walls, a low slanted ceiling and several framed pictures on the walls including one of George Drew and one of Walter Kronkite. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a black suit and an orange shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Coping with pandemic burnout. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says UNLESS YOU'RE 100 YEARS OLD, YOU'VE NEVER BEEN THROUGH ANYTHING LIKE THIS COVID 19 PANDEMIC BEFORE. AND IF WE'RE BEING HONEST, WE'RE MORE THAN READY FOR IT TO BE OVER. THE STORY IS EVERYWHERE - ON ALL OUR MEDIA, PART OF OUR DAILY CONVERSATIONS, AND OF COURSE DEFINING SO MUCH OF WHAT WE NOW DO AND DON'T DO. WOULD YOU LIKE SOME ADVICE ON HOW TO HANDLE YOUR FED-UP FEELINGS? IF SO, LISTEN, IN COSTA MESA, CALIFORNIA, TO: DANA ROSE GARFIN, SHE IS A DISASTER AND TRAUMA RESEARCHER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE. . .

Dana is in her thirties, with long straight brown hair pulled back. She's wearing an embroidered white blouse.

Steve continues IN LANARK HIGHLANDS IN EASTERN ONTARIO: GORDON FLETT, PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR AND CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR IN PERSONALITY AND HEALTH AT YORK UNIVERSITY. . .

Gordon is in his fifties, balding, with a full beard. He's wearing a black sweater vest and a checkered blue shirt.

Steve continues AND IN THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL: RAMONA PRINGLE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT RYERSON UNIVERSITY'S RTA SCHOOL OF MEDIA AND THE DIRECTOR OF THE CREATIVE INNOVATION STUDIO. . .

Ramona is in her early thirties, with long wavy brown hair. She's wearing a pink blazer.

Steve continues IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU THREE WITH US THIS MORNING. . . I SHOULD SAY THIS EVENING. THIS PANDEMIC IS GETTING TO ME. GORDON, LET'S START WITH YOU. IT'S TWO MONTHS NOW SINCE THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DECLARED COVID-19 A GLOBAL PANDEMIC. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR PEOPLE'S MENTAL HEALTH DURING THIS TWO-MONTH PERIOD?

The caption changes to "Gordon Flett. York University. "

Gordon says THERE'S A VARIETY OF CHALLENGES, STEVE. THE ISOLATION. THE DISRUPTION TO DAILY LIFE HAS AN ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT ELEMENT TO IT. THINGS JUST AREN'T THE WAY THEY USED TO. PEOPLE SAY THEY'RE FEELING DEPRESSED. NOTHING IS USUAL NOW, INCLUDING THE SELF. BASICALLY WE'RE TALKING ABOUT UNCERTAINTY, ISOLATION, AND POTENTIALLY TOTALLY UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE PEOPLE ARE HAVING THEIR DAILY LIVES DISRUPTED.

Steve says NOT TOO LONG AGO, WE HAD A POLLSTER NAMED ERIN KELLY ON THE PROGRAM, SHE RUNS A COMPANY CALLED ADVANCED SYMBOLICS IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL, AND SHE USES ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO TRACK SOCIAL MEDIA AS WELL AS TRADITIONAL POLLING METHODS. WE ASKED HER WHETHER PEOPLE WERE FEELING SATURATED WITH THE CONSTANT 24-7 COVERAGE IN THE MEDIA, AND LET'S PLAY A LITTLE CLIP OF WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY AND WE'LL COME BACK AND CHAT. CHAD, IF YOU WOULD, ROLL THAT CLIP.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "May 1, 2020. Erin Kelly. "
In the clip, Erin speaks with Steve on split screens. She's in her forties, with long wavy blond hair.

She says PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF THAT STORY. IT'S NOT NECESSARILY THEY'RE TIRED OF COVID, BUT PEOPLE DON'T JUST WANT TO HEAR DAILY DEATH COUNTS, THEY WANT TO HEAR WHAT DO WE NEED TO SEE TO GET THINGS BACK TO NORMAL? IS HOW DOES THE PHASED APPROACH LOOK? HOW CAN WE GET THIS BACK. . . PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR ABOUT TESTING. THEY WANT TO HEAR OTHER STORIES. AND THEY DO WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THINGS OTHER THAN COVID AS WELL. BUT IF WE ARE GOING TO KEEP TALKING ABOUT COVID, WE NEED TO CHANGE THE MIX A LITTLE BIT.

The clip ends.

Steve says DANA, WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON THAT?

The caption changes to "Dana Rose Garfin. University of California, Irvine. "

Dana says MY VIEW IS THAT PEOPLE. . . YOU KNOW, WE KNOW FROM DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND OTHER RESEARCH ON DIFFERENT TYPES OF DISASTERS THAT THIS REPEATED EXPOSURE TO MEDIA TENDS TO BE BAD FOR PEOPLE'S PHYSICAL AS WELL AS MENTAL HEALTH. SO I DO THINK PEOPLE NEED TO FIND A WAY TO KIND OF TURN OFF THE TV AND SHIFT TOWARDS A DIFFERENT ACTIVITY SO THAT THEY'RE NOT CONSTANTLY EXPOSED TO THAT SAME INFORMATION OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Steve says RAMONA, COULD YOU REACT TO THOSE FINDINGS AS WELL?

The caption changes to "Ramona Pringle. Ryerson University. "

Ramona says ABSOLUTELY. YOU KNOW, I THINK THE CHALLENGE IS THAT WE ARE ALL LIVING INSIDE OUR HOMES AND OUR ONLY EXPOSURE TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, YOU KNOW, IN GREAT PART, IS THROUGH OUR SCREENS, OUR SCREENS ARE FULL OF MEDIA ABOUT COVID, ABOUT THIS PANDEMIC, AND IT'S VERY HARD TO ESCAPE FROM. AND IT'S HARD TO TELL, YOU KNOW, FOR MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA, IT'S HARD TO TELL OTHER STORIES BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS TIED TO THIS, OUR PERSONAL LIVES, ECONOMY, EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF OUR LIVES, IT'S UBIQUITOUS. IT REALLY BECOMES A MATTER OF IF YOU ARE GOING TO TRY TO STEP AWAY FROM THAT MESSAGING, IT'S SORT OF A WATERFALL, A FAUCET. I WAS READING SOMEBODY TALKING ABOUT IT AS A FAUCET THE OTHER DAY, WHERE YOU REALLY NEED TO TURN IT OFF ENTIRELY. IT'S A CHALLENGE IN THAT, YOU KNOW, IN MANY WAYS AT LEAST UP TO NOW, IT'S BEEN HARD TO TALK ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE. IT'S HARD TO FIND ANYTHING ELSE THAT SEEMS RELEVANT TO TALK ABOUT. YOU KNOW, I DO A WEEKLY TECH COLUMN. TO THINK OF ANY STORY THAT WASN'T RELATED TO THE PANDEMIC, WHETHER IT WAS LEARNING. . . YOU KNOW, LEARNING NEW TOOLS SO WE COULD KEEP WORKING REMOTELY, LIKE THE SHOW WE'RE ON, WHETHER IT'S WAYS TO STAY ENGAGED, WHETHER IT'S CONVERSATIONS ABOUT, YOU KNOW, CONTACT TRACING. . . THERE'S SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT, BUT SORT OF ANYTHING THAT'S NOT RELATED TO THIS HAS FELT SOMEWHAT IRRELEVANT. BUT I DO THINK THAT THERE'S SOMETHING REALLY VALUABLE ABOUT SHIFTING THE MESSAGING NOW AND THAT IT CAN'T JUST BE ABOUT STATISTICS BUT THAT THERE'S A STRONG DESIRE FOR CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RECOVERY, MESSAGES ABOUT RECOVERY, AND IT'S NOT THAT IT ALL HAS TO BE GOOD NEWS. IT CAN BE. . . YOU KNOW, IT'S NATURALLY NOT GOING TO BE ALL GOOD NEWS. BUT I THINK LOOKING THREE MONTHS DOWN THE ROAD OR SIX MONTHS DOWN THE ROAD, THERE'S BEEN THIS RELENTLESS ONSLAUGHT OF REAL-TIME INFORMATION, AND SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE'RE MOVING INTO I THINK IS WELCOME NOW. WE'RE STARTING TO GET TO A TURNING POINT.

Steve says WE WILL DO THAT THREE OR SIX-MONTH LOOK DOWN THE ROAD IN A MOMENT. FIRST, DANA, I WANT TO FOLLOW WITH YOU. YOU STUDY MEDIA EXPOSURE ON SOMETHING CALLED COLLECTIVE TRAUMAS. WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL AND WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND?

Dana says I DIDN'T START OUT ON RESEARCH ON THE MEDIA. I'M A TRAUMA PSYCHOLOGIST. I'M A COPING RESEARCHER. ORIGINALLY I GOT IN THIS FIELD, I WAS INTERESTED IN HOW PEOPLE RESPOND TO LARGE-SCALE EVENTS THAT IMPACT THE POPULATION BROADLY: HURRICANES, EARTHQUAKES, TERRORIST ATTACKS, PUBLIC HEALTH CRISES. AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN ALL OF OUR STUDIES, WE HAVE JUST FOUND THIS REALLY ROBUST LINK. . . EVEN CONTROLLING FOR DIRECT EXPOSURE, IF PEOPLE KNEW SOMEONE AT THE EVENT, IF THEY WERE AT THE EVENT. ALMOST ALWAYS WE FIND THIS VERY ROBUST LINK BETWEEN THE AMOUNT OF MEDIA EXPOSURE THAT PEOPLE CONSUME AND THEIR MENTAL HEALTH, WITH THE INCREASING MEDIA EXPOSURE BEING LINKED WITH WORK MENTAL HEALTH OUTCOMES, AND WE'VE ALSO FOUND THAT LINKED WITH DOWNSTREAM EFFECTS ON PEOPLE'S PHYSICAL HEALTH. SO, YOU KNOW, IT REALLY HAS TO DO WITH THIS AMOUNT OF EXPOSURE. WE'VE ALSO FOUND THAT EXPOSURE TO GRAPHIC IMAGES OR IMAGES ABOUT DEATH, DYING, BLOOD, THOSE TYPES OF THINGS, ALSO TEND TO PORTEND WORSE RESPONSE OVER TIME.

Steve says GORDON, THE ANSWER TO THIS NEXT QUESTION MAY BE OBVIOUS, BUT I DON'T WANT TO MAKE ANY ASSUMPTIONS SO LET ME PUT IT TO YOU. WHAT SORT OF PROFESSIONS OR PERSONALITIES WOULD HAVE A PROBLEM AS A RESULT OF WHAT WE'RE EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW.

Gordon says FIRST IT HAS TO BE THE FRONTLINE WORKERS WHO ARE EXPOSED TO SUCH GREAT WORK SCHEDULES AND TRAUMA IN TERMS OF DEALING WITH LOSS AND THEIR OWN PERSONAL SAFETY CONCERNS. SO. . . AND OF COURSE THAT'S GOT A FAIR AMOUNT OF FOCUS. WITHIN THEIR [indiscernible] DISCUSS THE ROLE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE PERFECTIONISTS. PEOPLE OF THESE PEOPLE ARE PERFECTIONISTS. THIS IS ONE PERSONALITY STYLE THAT IS ILL-SUITED TO THE PRESSURES AND THE STRESS OF THIS UNIQUE SITUATION. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO LIKE CERTAINTY RATHER THAN UNCERTAINTY, CONTROL RATHER THAN LACK OF CONTROL. AND THEN YOU THROW IN THE PERSONAL SAFETY CONCERNS AND WE KNOW FROM OTHER RESEARCH THAT PERFECTIONISTS ARE NOT THE ONLY PRONE TO MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS BUT ALSO HEALTH PROBLEMS RELATED TO THAT CONSTANT STRESS THAT PERFECTIONISM PUTS ON THEM. SO THAT'S ONE PERSONALITY STYLE. MANY OCCUPATIONS I'VE FOUND, WHETHER YOU'RE ACTUALLY ABLE TO CONTINUE TO WORK, THAT'S A KEY FACTOR, BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE TENDING TOWARDS WORK AHOLISM AS WELL. THOSE WHO ARE PROBLEMS WITH ADAPTABILITY ARE GOING TO FIND THIS POTENTIALLY AN OVERWHELMING SITUATION. THERE ARE PREEXISTING PROBLEMS WITH ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION. THAT'S GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT'S ALMOST LIKE A DOUBLE JEOPARDY SITUATION IN TERMS OF NOW THERE'S THE ADDED STRESS THAT WILL FURTHER TRIGGER THOSE FEELINGS AND THE THOUGHTS THAT KEEP THOSE PROBLEMS OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION GOING.

Steve says WELL, LET'S FIND OUT IF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS WHO TEACH MEDIA STUDIES ARE PART OF THAT GROUP THAT WE OUGHT TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT. RAMONA, I DON'T WANT TO GET TOO PERSONAL WITH YOU HERE BUT YOU'RE LIVING THIS 24-7 BOTH PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY. LET ME ASK: HOW ARE YOU MAKING OUT?

Ramona says YOU KNOW, I FEEL LIKE I'M A LITTLE BIT BETTER THESE DAYS THAN EARLIER ON IN THE PANDEMIC, AND I THINK IT'S JUST A MATTER OF, IN SOME WAYS, FINDING A PATTERN, FINDING SOME REGULARITY. AND I HAVE A TODDLER AT HOME. AND WHILE IT'S A LOT TO JUGGLE, WE HAVE A VERY, VERY BUSY HOUSEHOLD. THERE'S ALWAYS ACTIVITY. BUT I KNOW THROUGH CONVERSATIONS, WHETHER IT'S PEOPLE IN THE MEDIA WHO I'LL CHECK IN WITH COLLEAGUES WHO ARE TALKING ABOUT SORT OF THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER EVERY SINGLE DAY. NO MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE, NO MATTER YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC, THE SORT OF COLLATERAL OF COVID HAS BEEN OUR MENTAL HEALTH. THERE'S NO ONE WHO IS IMMUNE TO IT. AND IT IS EITHER, YOU KNOW, THE CONCERN. . . THE GRIEF, THE LONELINESS, THE SORT OF GRIEF NOT JUST FOR SOMEONE WHO YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN EXPOSED BUT FOR A WAY OF LIFE THAT WE MAY HAVE LEFT BEHIND AT THIS MOMENT, AND THEN THE ANXIETY AND THE WORRY. AND SO I THINK WE START OUR PHONE CALLS. . . YES, THERE'S A MEDIA SIDE OF IT, A MEDIA CONSUMPTION. BUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT INTERFACING WITH THE WORLD THROUGH SCREENS RIGHT NOW, WE'RE ALSO HAVING, YOU KNOW, A DAY OF BACK-TO-BACK ZOOM MEETINGS. SO THERE'S THIS LAYER OF ZOOM FATIGUE THAT PEOPLE TALK ABOUT ON TOP OF IT. AND EVEN WHEN I'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THAT, SORT OF THE BURNOUT OF THESE CONVERSATIONS WHERE WE ARE A STEP REMOVED FROM EACH OTHER, EVEN THOUGH WE'RE STAYING IN TOUCH WITH EACH OTHER, I THINK PEOPLE ARE WELCOME TO HEAR THAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE FEELING THE SAME THING, THEY MAY BE FEELING THAT EXHAUSTION ON TOP OF IT. THERE IS A FASCINATING DYNAMIC IN THAT THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED IN THAT WE ARE ALL EXPERIENCING THIS, AROUND THE WORLD WE ARE ALL GOING THROUGH THIS. AND YET IN SOME WAYS WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE GRANULAR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. WE START OUR ZOOM CALLS, OUR PHONE CALLS WITH THE QUESTION: HOW ARE YOU? AND I THINK IN SOME WAYS WE SAY IT OUT OF HABIT. BUT I ALSO THINK WE SAY IT OUT OF GENUINE CONCERN. WE DON'T HAVE TIME AT THE START OF A MEETING TO GET INTO IT. BUT WE DON'T HAVE THE LANGUAGE, WE DON'T HAVE THE INFRASTRUCTURE. THERE IS THIS TOLL THAT IT'S TAKING ON ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY.

Steve says DANA, I THINK. . . A LOT OF PEOPLE GO INTO JOURNALISM BECAUSE THEY WANT THAT FRONT ROW SEAT ON HISTORY AND THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO MAINTAIN, YOU KNOW, A CERTAIN INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL DISTANCE FROM WHAT THEY'RE COVERING, PARTICULARLY IF WHAT THEY'RE COVERING IS TRAUMATIC MOST OF THE TIME. WHAT ARE YOU FINDING ABOUT HOW JOURNALISTS, REPORTERS, PRESENTERS, ET CETERA, HOW THEY'RE MANAGING RIGHT NOW?

Dana says YEAH, SO THAT'S A LITTLE BIT OUTSIDE MY PERSONAL AREA OF EXPERTISE, ALTHOUGH WE DID HAVE A GRAD STUDENT WHO WAS A PULITZER PRIZE NOMINATED JOURNALIST BEFORE WE CAME BACK TO GET HER Ph. D. , AND SHE WAS VERY INTERESTED IN THIS KIND OF PHENOMENON AS WELL. ABOUT BECAUSE FROM HER EXPERIENCE AND HER RESEARCH, SHE ACTUALLY FOUND THAT JOURNALISTS WHO ARE COVERING WAR SPECIFICALLY HAD A LOT OF DISTRESS, AND THEY WOULD HAVE SYMPTOMS OF POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS, AND EVEN ACCORDING TO THE DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL OF MENTAL DISORDERS, IF YOU ARE COVERING THESE TYPES OF EVENTS AND YOU ARE EXPOSED TO THIS INFORMATION THROUGH THIS VICARIOUS TRAUMATIZATION, WE KNOW THAT CAN ACTUALLY ELICIT POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS AS WELL. I DO THINK THOSE FOLKS ARE AT GREATER RISK, ACCORDING TO THE RESEARCH.

Steve says GORDON, YOU MENTIONED HEALTH CARE WORKERS, AND I'M NOT SURE THERE WAS A MORE SHOCKING MOMENT, AND THERE HAVE BEEN PLENTY OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS, BUT I'M NOT SURE THERE WAS A MORE SHOCKING MOMENT THAN THE DISCOVERY OF THAT NEW YORK DOCTOR WHO CONTRACTED COVID, PASSED THROUGH IT, GOT HEALTHY, WAS INUNDATED BY OBVIOUSLY THE ENORMITY OF THE SITUATION FACING HER AND ULTIMATELY WAS LOST TO SUICIDE. WHAT DO YOU THINK CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE THE RISK OF MORE OF THAT HAPPENING?

Gordon says WELL, I THINK, FIRST OF ALL, PEOPLE HAVE TO BE VERY STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO REACH OUT. BUT PEOPLE JUST NATURALLY HAVE TO REACH OUT TO THEM. WHENEVER WE HEAR ABOUT THIS. . . THIS IS AGAIN SOMETHING THAT TRIGGERS THE IDEA OF PERFECTIONISM BECAUSE OF THE LINK THAT'S THERE BETWEEN PERFECTIONISM AND INCREASED SUICIDALITY, WHAT WE KNOW FROM THOSE INDIVIDUALS IS THE SITUATION. . . THIS SAD, SAD CASE AS WELL IN TERMS OF THE LOSS, WAS THAT THIS IS WHERE NOBODY SAW IT COMING. PEOPLE HAVE A LOT OF SELF SHAME. THERE'S A LOT OF STIGMA GOING ON. WHAT WE ADVOCATE IS TO REACH OUT FROM THE BEGINNING TO ENCOURAGE THAT HELP SEEKING. DON'T WAIT TO ASK SOMEONE ASKING FOR HELP. THIS GOES BACK TO A PROJECT I WAS INVOLVED WITH A LOCAL TORONTO AREA SCHOOL BOARD FUNDED BY THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT TO TRY TO BUILD RESILIENCE AMONG CHILDREN, TEACHING THEM TO BECOME A SELF ADVOCATE, BECAUSE PEOPLE KEEP THAT FRONT ON UNTIL WE FIND OUT TOO LATE THAT THEY WERE SUFFERING AND THEN WE'RE STRUCK BY THE ENORMOUS LOSS OF POTENTIAL AND CAPABILITY. AND OFTEN THESE PEOPLE HAVE SO MANY FRIENDS AND PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES THAT WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HELP THEM AND GET THEM THROUGH, BUT THEY PUT ON THAT FRONT. WE NEED TO BE PROACTIVE. THAT MEANS TRAINING FOR RESILIENCE EARLY IN SCHOOL. WE NEED FOCUS ON LIFE LESSONS IN TERMS OF BOOK LESSONS IN TERMS OF WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN TO PULL YOU THROUGH A UNIQUE SITUATION LIKE THIS.

Steve says RAMONA, PERHAPS YOU COULD PICK UP THE STORY. WE ALL KNOW THE EXPRESSION, IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS, WHICH IS A PARTICULARLY, I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY, AMERICAN LOCAL NEWS PHENOMENON. BUT HOW DO WE FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN WANTING TO SHARE ACCURATE, HELPFUL, EVEN IF IT'S STARK, INFORMATION, NOT WANTING TO INUNDATE AND OVERLOAD VIEWERS, LISTENERS, READERS WITH THAT INFORMATION, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME KIND OF TRYING TO PRESERVE EVERYBODY'S SANITY AT THE SAME TIME. IS THAT TOO TALL AN ORDER?

Ramona says IT IS A TALL ORDER. AND I THINK ESPECIALLY SO AS WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT. IT'S NOT LIKE ANYONE IS OUTSIDE OF THIS JUST WATCHING AS AN OBSERVER, AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDIA. EVERYONE'S LIVING THIS IN REAL TIME AS WELL. I THINK A LOT OF IT HAS TO DO WITH CONTEXT AND CONTEXTLIZING INFORMATION. I THINK THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE REALLY SEARCHING FOR RIGHT NOW. WE CAN'T HANDLE THIS IN A DIFFERENT WAY. WE DO NEED TO KNOW THE STATISTICS OF THE NEW INFECTION RATE, OF THE DEATH RATE, IT GIVES US NEW INFORMATION OF WHERE WE'RE AT IN THIS BECAUSE WE ARE PROGRESSING THROUGH SOMETHING THAT IS A CHANGING, AMORPHOUS MOVING TARGET. SO WHAT DOES THAT ALL MEAN? WHAT DO THESE NUMBERS MEAN IN TERMS OF OUR PROGRESS? WHERE ARE WE AT IN THIS? WHAT DOES IT MEANING IN TERMS OF REOPENING. WHAT DOES REOPENING MEAN? HOW DO WE DO IT IN A WAY THAT LESSENS ANXIETY RATHER THAN LEAVES PEOPLE WITH MORE QUESTIONS. I THINK THERE ARE SO MANY OF THOSE QUESTIONS. SO THIS REALLY WHERE,BEING MINDFUL OF THE INDIVIDUAL. THAT THIS IS A SITUATION,NOT JUST STATISTICS BUT EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS A LIVED INEXPERIENCE THROUGH THIS. THE STORIES AROUND IT REALLY NEED TO BE STORIES ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL AND THEIR WELLBEING AND HOW THEIR GONNA GET THROUGHOUT THIS. SO WETHER IT'S TIDE TO SMALL BISNESSES WETHER IT'S TIDE TO OUR FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN. THE SCHOOL YEAR,WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE FALL? IN POST SECONDARY SCHOOLS,WHAT DO YOU DO WITH PEOPLE PLANNING TO GO INTO RESIDENCE? THERE ARE SO MANY UNKNOWNS. SO TO BE ABLE TO TIE THE STATISTICS TO A CONTEXT OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, WHETHER IT'S YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OR SOMEONE ELSE'S, I THINK IT JUST GROUNDS THIS INFORMATION IN A WAY THAT'S VERY HELPFUL RIGHT NOW AND MAYBE REDUCES SOME OF THAT ANXIETY, SOME OF THOSE UNKNOWNS.

Steve says GORDON, LET ME FOLLOW UP WITH THIS. IT SEEMS IF YOU'RE EITHER WORKING FROM HOME OR LOST YOUR JOB BECAUSE OF THIS PANDEMIC AND REQUIRED TO BE AT HOME, IT SEEMS THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT BUCKETS OF PEOPLE. THERE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE LITTLE KIDS AND THERE ARE THOSE WHO DON'T. FOR THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO GET THROUGH THIS, EITHER WORKING OR NOT, WITH LITTLE KIDS AT HOME, THEY ARE LEARNING THAT THIS IS A VERY BRAVE AND DIFFICULT NEW WORLD. WHAT ADVICE MIGHT YOU HAVE FOR THEM AS IT RELATES TO MAINTAINING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND GETTING THROUGH ALL OF THIS AT THE SAME TIME?

Gordon says YEAH, I'M GLAD YOU MENTION THAT, STEVE, BECAUSE IN TERMS OF THE DAILY ROUTINES, I MEAN YESTERDAY WAS MOTHER'S DAY. IT WAS PROBABLY THE STRANGEST MOTHER'S DAY THAT WE'VE EVER HAD IN RECENT MEMORY. I WAS THINKING ABOUT. IT IS A DAY FOR CELEBRATING MOTHERS WE GOTTA ALSO CELEBRATE FATHERS LATER IN JUNE SOME OF OUR FACULTY MEMBERS AT YORK UNIVERSITY I AM A DIRECTOR AT A CENTER. I WAS CHATTING WITH A FEW OF THEM LAST WEEK. THEY 5 KIDS TRYING TO ALSO FINISH THEIR GRADING THE SENSE OF THIS IS THAT YOU WANT TO LIVE UP TO SOME EXPECTATION OR STANDARD. SO NOW IS THE TIME, IF YOU'VE NEVER DONE IT BEFORE, NOW IS THE TIME TO TRY TO BE SELF COMPASSIONATE, TO SAY THAT GOOD ENOUGH IS GOOD ENOUGH. ONE OF THE LINES OF RESEARCH I DO IS ON MATTERING. YOU KNOW, WHAT KIDS WANT TO KNOW IS THEY WANT TO KNOW THAT EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY AND THAT THEY MATTER TO THE PEOPLE WHO MATTER TO THEM. AND JUST FOCUSING ON THAT RATHER THAN WORRYING ABOUT LIVING UP TO EXPECTATIONS FOR ONLINE LEARNING AND DISTANCE LEARNING IS A CRITICAL ELEMENT BECAUSE IT'S THAT SOCIAL BOND THAT WILL BE THE THING THAT THE KIDS REMEMBER. BUT PARENTS ARE FAR TOO GOOD AT BEATING THEMSELVES UP ACCORDING TO THIS IMPOSSIBLE STANDARD. YOU HEAR ABOUT THE PERFECT MOTHER SYNDROME, FOR INSTANCE, AND NOBODY HAS EVER MET THAT PERFECT MOTHER YET BUT PEOPLE STILL TRY TO BE THAT PERSON.

Steve says DANA, WE TALK ABOUT UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM PROBLEMS, AND FOR A MOMENT, LET'S LOOK DOWNSTREAM. THERE ARE GOING TO BE LOTS OF DOWNSTREAM PROBLEMS CREATED BY THIS PANDEMIC.

Dana says YES.

Steve says DO YOU WANT TO MAKE A BIT OF A LIST FOR US AS TO WHAT YOU SEE HAPPENING?

Dana says YEAH. YOU KNOW, IT'S HARD TO HAVE A CRYSTAL BALL. I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, WE KNOW FROM PRIOR RESEARCH THAT, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE THINK ABOUT COLLECTIVE TRAUMA, WE THINK ABOUT THE EVENT ITSELF, RIGHT? SO YOU'RE EXPOSED, IF YOU KNOW SOMEBODY WHO IS SICK WITH COVID, YOU'RE EXPOSED THROUGH THE MEDIA AND YOU HAVE THOSE TYPES OF EXPOSURES. PARTICULARLY WITH THIS EVENT AS WELL, PARTICULARLY WITH THIS EVENT AS WELL, WE HAVE A LOT OF WHAT WE CALL SECONDARY STRESSORS. AND WHEN WE TALK ABOUT STRESSORS, THOSE ARE THINGS THAT THE PANDEMIC IS KIND OF CAUSING, SUCH AS JOB LOSS, DECREASED WAGES, THIS STRESS OF HAVING YOUR CHILDREN HOME. SOME PEOPLE ARE AT HOME IN VERY UNDESIRABLE ENVIRONMENTS, LIKE AN ABUSIVE HOME, YOU KNOW, LOW RESOURCE, FOOD INSECURE. I MEAN, SOME OF THOSE PROBLEMS ARE GOING TO BE INCREASING AND, YOU KNOW, THEY MIGHT NOT RECOVER QUITE SO QUICKLY FROM THAT. SO I THINK WE'RE GOING TO BE SEEING THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC AS WELL AS THIS KIND OF CONTEXTUAL SEQUENCE OF LIFE EVENTS. PARTICULARLY WITH THE MEDIA EXPOSURE. WE KNOW THAT KIND OF THIS IMMEDIATE ACTIVATION OF THE SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM OR THE FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE. WHEN THAT STAYS ACTIVATED CHRONICALLY, THAT CAN ACTUALLY HAVE THOSE NEGATIVE DOWNSTREAM EFFECTS ON YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH AS WELL. WE'VE EVEN SEEN THIS KIND OF MEDIA EXPOSURE LINKED TO INCREASED CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE YEARS LATER. SO I DO REALLY THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO FIND WAYS TO REDUCE THEIR STRESS, TO FIND CALM IN THIS, HOWEVER THEY CAN, AND TO REALLY TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF TRYING TO REGULATE THAT ACTIVATION OF THE FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE, EVEN DURING A VERY STRESSFUL TIME.

Steve says RAMONA, YOU MIGHT HAVE AN IDEA IN THAT REGARD. WHAT'S THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY PROJECT ALL ABOUT?

Ramona says YOU KNOW, IT'S SO INTERESTING, HERE WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THE MESSAGES AND THE STORIES AND THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE CONTEXTUAL, AND I THINK THERE'S A CERTAIN ELEMENT OF EMPOWERMENT IN ALL THIS. SO THE CREATIVE COMMUNITIES PROJECT REALLY CAME OUT OF EVERYTHING WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT, THIS UNSHAKEABLE FEELING WE NEEDED TO ADDRESS THE MENTAL HEALTH TOLL OF COVID-19, THE ANXIETY, THE GRIEF, THE LONELINESS, THAT EVERYONE IS GOING THROUGH THIS IN SOME WAY. WHAT THE INITIATIVE IS, WE'VE PUT TOGETHER A CONSORTIUM OF SOME OF THE MEDIA AND ARTS ORGANIZATIONS THAT IT'S BEEN GREAT TO SEE THE UPTAKE OF THIS, ORGANIZATIONS FROM RYERSON WHERE I AM WHERE THIS STARTED OUT AS WELL AS A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT SCHOOLS ACROSS ONTARIO, THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD, SECOND CITY, ARTSCAPE, ALL THESE GREAT ORGANIZATIONS. WHAT WE'RE DOING IS HOLDING FREE ONLINE WORKSHOPS EVERY YEAR. THEY'RE INTERACTIVE. IF YOU KNOW PELOTON, PELOTON IS LIVE AND YOU'RE WITH EVERYBODY AND YOU CAN ENGAGE WITH LEADING ARTISTS. THE GOAL WAS TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY, TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE MICRO GRANTS TO INDEPENDENT ARTISTS AND CREATORS SO THEY COULD LEAD THE WORKSHOPS. THE WORKSHOPS ARE FOR EVERYONE. THE UMBRELLA QUESTION IS: HOW ARE YOU FEELING RIGHT NOW. AGAIN FROM DEALING WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS THAT ARE WORKING WITH US AND CRISIS RESPONSE, THE INPUT WE REALLY GOT WAS THAT IT HAD TO BE RIGHT NOW. IT COULDN'T BE JUST "HOW ARE YOU FEELING?" AGAIN, IT'S SO OVERWHELMING AND WE'RE FEELING VERY DIFFERENT WAYS, TO BE COLLOQUIAL, WE'RE FEELING ALL THE FEELS EVERY SINGLE DAY. BUT TO HAVE THE TOOLS TO BE ABLE TO START EXPRESSING HOW WE'RE FEELING, WHETHER IT'S SECOND CITY DOING A WORK SHOP, WHICH IS NEXT WEEK ON DEALING WITH ANXIETY AND GRIEF THROUGH COMEDY AS A TOOL FOR RESILIENCE OR PHOTOGRAPHY AS A MEANS OF SHARING OW YOU'RE FEELING WHEN FINDING THE WORDS IS JUST TOO DIFFICULT. THE HOPE IS THAT THROUGHOUT ALL THIS, NOT ONLY IS THERE A SORT OF ELEMENT OF EMOTIONAL SOLIDARITY. WHEN YOU LOOK AT WIKIPEDIA, A SMALL, SMALL, SMALL PERCENTAGE, SOMETHING LIKE 1 percent OF WIKIPEDIA ENGAGEMENT IS ACTUALLY CREATING THOSE ARTICLES, AND EVERYONE ELSE IS JUST USING THE ARTICLES, ENGAGING WITH THE CONTENT, BUT WE DON'T THINK LESS OF THAT EXPERIENCE. FOR EVERYONE ELSE WATCHING THE CONTENT THAT'S CREATED, I THINK THERE IS THIS ELEMENT OF UNDERSTANDING, OF RELIEF THAT THEY SEE THAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE GOING THROUGH THE SAME THING. AND THEN HOPEFULLY, NOT ONLY IS IT A MEANS FOR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES AND EXPRESS HOW THEY'RE FEELING BUT THAT THROUGHOUT ALL THIS, WE CAN PUT TOGETHER A TIME CAPSULE OF HOW WE'VE FARED IN THIS HISTORIC AND UNPRECEDENTED TIME.

Steve says GORDON, LET'S FINISH UP ON THIS. I WANT TO USE MY MODERATOR'S PREROGATIVE HERE, I GUESS, TO GET SOME ADVICE FOR MYSELF, IF YOU DON'T MIND.

Gordon says SURE. YOU'RE THE MAN, SO GO AHEAD.

Steve says I MEAN, THERE IS SOME PRETTY SIGNIFICANT WAYS IN WHICH I KEEP MY SANITY AT NORMAL TIMES AND ONE IS TO PLAY HOCKEY ONCE A WEEK WHEN THE WEATHER IS A LITTLE COOL AND WHEN THE WEATHER GETS BETTER, I PLAY BASEBALL. DURING THE SEASON I WATCH ABOUT 150 GAMES DURING THE YEAR. I CAN'T DO ANY OF THAT RIGHT NOW. SO WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST?

Gordon says I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL, STEVE. I'M STILL WAITING FOR THE LEAFS TO WIN THAT CUP AND WE'VE BEEN WATCHING FOR IT SINCE THE AGE OF 6 AND STILL WAITING. AND BASEBALL IS A BIG THING FOR ME AS WELL HOW MANY TIMES CAN I WATCH FIELD OF DREAMS, I THINK I KNOW HOW THIS STORY ENDS. I FIND IT'S VERY HELPFUL TO FIND PODCASTS, TO HEAR PEOPLE TALKING, USUALLY ONE WHEN THERE'S AN OPTIMISTIC ELEMENT, NOT FINDING MORE ABOUT COVID-19, JUST TO HEAR STORIES OF RESILIENCE. THERE ARE SOME SPORTS PODCASTS OUT THERE FOR THE SPORTS FAN LIKE ME WHO IS DESPERATE TO HEAR SOMETHING, SOME OLD NEWS. OCCASIONALLY IT'S OKAY TO WATCH OLD REPLACE. I HAVE TO SAY THIS FOR THE RAPTORS FANS, IT'S THE ANNIVERSARY OF KAWHI'S SHOT. I CAN'T SEE THAT ENOUGH TIMES. WE SYNCHRONIZE OUR LIVES ACCORDING TO THIS. THE REASON WHY I THINK THERE'S A LOT MORE DEPRESSION OUT THERE, THE HALL MARK SYMPTOM IS THE LOSS OF THINGS THAT ARE USUALLY PLEASURABLE AND FUN. I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE, KEEP THE FAITH. THESE THINGS ARE COMING BACK. WE KNOW THIS IS GOING TO END. IT'S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE IF YOU CAN MAINTAIN A SENSE OF HOPE AND OPTIMISM, AND THAT INCLUDES SOME OF THE THINGS THAT RAMONA WAS TALKING ABOUT IN TERMS OF THINGS YOU CAN DO THAT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER THAT GIVE YOU A PLAN SO THAT IT'S NOT JUST WISHFUL THINKING OR POLLYANNA TYPE STUFF, BUT YOU CAN SEE SOMETHING YOU CAN DO TO MAKE YOURSELF AND OTHERS FEEL BETTER.

The caption changes to "Producer: Patricia Kozicka, @TrishKozicka."

Steve says FROM YOUR LIPS TO GOD'S EARS. GORDON FLETT, DANA ROSE GARFIN, RAMONA PRINGLE, GREAT OF YOU TO SPEND SO MUCH TIME WITH US ON TVO TONIGHT. BE SAFE, BE WELL, AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Dana says THANK YOU.

Ramona says THANK YOU.

Watch: Coping with Pandemic Burnout