SASKATOON -- Isolating in stressful situations can lead to people losing a sense of belonging and can increase their sense of being a burden on others, says James Brayshaw with Saskatchewan Mental Health Training and Support Teams.

Brayshaw believes that can lead people to consider harming themselves.

“Once hope is lost, many people think, ‘I no longer want to continue going on in this journey which is painful,’” he said.

Mental health advocates recommend maintaining social interaction over the phone, or via Skype or FaceTime, sticking to the facts when it comes to consuming information or online content, and trying to stay grounded.

“Who can share our reality with us,” asked Brayshaw. “Who can hear us when our reality is causing us pain, and can they really support us, and be a bit of a stabilizing factor.”

Mental toughness speaker Eric Rittmeyer said not everyone is going into the pandemic with the same mental state.

“So my concern is, for people who use sport, for instance, as their outlet, as a sort of coping mechanism, without it that can have some very adverse impacts.”

“People who know they have this perceived connectedness with other people, it actually has huge benefits to them health wise. Just knowing they have people they can rely on.”

The Saskatoon Council on Aging is keeping their phone lines open for seniors who are feeling isolated. They’re also encouraging people to visit their website for more resources, as well as using the Red Cross’ Friendly Phone program.

Brayshaw will be holding a mental health seminar on Sunday at 4 p.m.