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Visions Journal

Editor's Message

Sarah Hamid-Balma

Reprinted from the "COVID-19" issue of Visions Journal, 2020, 16 (2), p. 4

The pandemic has changed all our lives in a million ways. Many of us have seen new freedoms and possibilities, lost livelihoods or loved ones, been inconvenienced or devastated—sometimes all simultaneously. We have upended routines, learned new skills, lost income, risked safety. We have been stressed, anxious, uncertain, exhausted, resilient, probably overtechnologized and underconnected. Connection is central to wellness; it nurtures us. We are struggling to meaningfully relate in new ways. We are living through two major public health crises—COVID-19 and the opioid crisis—and mental health and substance use are central to both. People are living it and seeing it, seeing that mental health is so much more than mental illness, that substance use changes in times of stress, that people with power and privilege are (surprise) doing better. I’m grateful to have retained work, home and health. I’m grateful I could have a funeral for my father in March and that he’s no longer in long-term care. I’m grateful I could support my 9-year-old through her first panic attack. But I hate that my widowed, technology-shy mother lives alone, that I haven’t been able to hug her for nine months. So many different feelings and stresses. I know I’m not alone. Our Visions contributors confirm it.

Changes—You’ll notice several changes from this issue forward as we build on Visions’ strengths and implement reader recommendations. The design has been updated to better align it with the HeretoHelp website it lives on. We are adding more graphics to the paper and digital versions over time. We realize that the popular Experiences section was too narrow; in the renamed sections, we are striving to make all articles more personal, experiential and solution-oriented. You’ll notice that now a couple of articles look ahead to the next theme of Visions, themes that allow us to be more relevant and responsive.

Goodbye—Another change: This is my last issue as Visions’ Editor. I’ve been involved in some way with Visions Journal for two decades, the past 13 as its Editor-in-Chief. I pass the baton now to Kamal Arora: Leader, Health Promotion and Education at CMHA BC. She’s worked alongside me for several months now and has seen the power of Visions’ diverse perspectives. She will shine as the new Editor. I’m so proud to have been part of the team that has brought around 1000 amazing mental health and substance use stories to British Columbians. Thank you for the privilege. Please stay in touch and help us share thousands more.

About the author

Sarah is Visions Editor and Director of Mental Health Promotion at the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division

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