‘A fragile balance’: Legault juggling COVID restrictions and Quebecers’ mental health

Premier Legault

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier says pandemic-related restrictions need to stay despite the risk they bring to people’s mental health.

Francois Legault told reporters today the government’s partial lockdown orders covering much of the province are leading people to become more isolated, which he said leads to more mental health issues.

But the premier says his government has no choice given the fact health authorities continue to report around 1,000 new COVID-19 infections a day.

Legault says his government is worried the pandemic is causing a rise in mental health problems and says it is hiring more therapists and psychologists to meet people’s needs.

Quebec reported 1,037 new cases of COVID-19 today along with 12 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one in the past 24 hours.

Health officials said hospitalizations increased to 499, three more than the previous day, while the number of people in intensive care dropped by three to 81.

Quebec has reported a total of 108,018 COVID-19 infections and 6,283 deaths linked to the virus.

Legault called pandemic-related restrictions “a fragile balance.”

“We have no choice to bring in restrictions that make people more alone,” he said, referring to his orders limiting gatherings and shutting bars, gyms, restaurant dining rooms and entertainment venues in the province’s so-called red zones. “And because people are more alone, they will suffer more from mental health problems.”

He said his government is trying to hire more therapists and psychologists but “it’s not easy to fill these jobs.” Legault said he is happy to see waiting lists to visit a mental health professional dropped from 28,000 people to 16,000 people since March, but he added that 16,000 is still too many.