A message from MNA
COVID-19 is a challenge for all of us but help is available
By Jennifer Maccarone, MNA for Westmount–St-Louis
No one knows how the COVID-19 pandemic will unfold. Our community is facing an unprecedented challenge to our health, our economy, and our institutions. For some people, it means losing jobs or facing the uncertain future of their business. For others, it means worrying about loved ones, struggling to balance self-isolation with work, or making sure they have enough food to eat. For me, it has been about balancing my responsibilities as your MNA, working from home, supporting those in need, and caring for my two children, Sam and Bianca.
Seeing the troubles those in need face every single day, you suddenly realize how trivial and insignificant our problems are compared to theirs.
Help in the riding
In addition to community reach out calls to all our seniors, responding to citizen requests and concerns, and weekly virtual meetings with health and community organizations, my team and I have been extremely busy working to help those on the frontlines of the fight against coronavirus in Westmount–Saint-Louis. I’ve been delivering food weekly to local shelters, shopping for groceries, and sending emergency funds to organizations. Seeing the troubles those in need face every single day, you suddenly realize how trivial and insignificant our problems are compared to theirs.
That being said, many families who care for people with special needs are also faced with the interruption of school and essential services that their loved ones were used to receiving. While this time is difficult for everyone, the burden is particularly heavy for those of us who are caregivers. Conjugating “special needs” with “COVID-19” is a challenge.
I can tell you from personal experience, working from home as a Member of the National Assembly while caring for my two children who are on the spectrum, has been a trying experience. And if I’m feeling overwhelmed, I can only imagine how difficult it is for people on the spectrum, who are intellectually disabled, or who have a handicap.
Right now, I’m just doing my best to juggle the demands of work with being a teacher, a therapist, a friend, and a mom. There are plenty of ups and downs. It depends on the day, who you ask, how much sleep I got. I remind myself that feeling overwhelmed as a caregiver is normal, and it’s ok to want some “me-time”. It also helps me to know that I’m not alone, and there are many parents like me that are worried about their kids and seeking support.
Since March 12th, Parliamentary sittings at the National Assembly have been suspended as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although no date is set for the return to Québec City, we’ve made history and hosted our first virtual commissions and debate. I will have the opportunity to question the Education Minister in one of these online sessions. My role in opposition is to ensure your voice is heard and to ask important questions regarding Québec’s handling of this crisis. As we begin to take steps towards de-confinement, economic recovery and the re-opening of our schools and daycares, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with your feedback.
‘If you’re a volunteer and Westmount–Saint-Louis has this in abundance, thank you for your dedication, for the risks you take, for your kindness, and for your support. Your actions inspire me.’
To our essential service workers who have been sacrificing their health and safety throughout this pandemic, thank you. Only you and your families truly know the hours of work you are putting in for the public protection and services. Thank you to those who are caring for those who are sick or in need, for taking in our children, and for ensuring we have access to basic needs. If you’re a volunteer and Westmount–Saint-Louis has this in abundance, thank you for your dedication, for the risks you take, for your kindness, and for your support. Your actions inspire me.
Where to go for help
Stress, anxiety and depression are common at any time, but worse as we face this pandemic. There are mental health resources such as Info-Social 811, Tel-Aide (514 935-1101) and Ligne Parents (1-800-361-5085).
Support for young people is available through Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.
For family support, food banks, and housing assistance, contact 211.
More information, including the latest economic measures, updates on the COVID-19 situation, and resources are available online at Québec.ca/coronavirus
Remember, we’re all in this together and it will get better. If you have questions or need help finding a resource, please contact my office at 514 395-2929 or Jennifer.Maccarone.WSL@assnat.qc.ca
I’m here for you and you’re not alone.
Feature image: courtesy of Jennifer Maccarone
Jennifer Maccarone is the Official Opposition Critic for Families, People Living with a Handicap or Autism, and LGBTQ2 Community Rights.