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Kendall Worth: Depressing times! How some people on social assistance are living through COVID-19

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – I try to stay in touch with the people I advocate for as a reporter for the Nova Scotia Advocate. Over this past week I heard from several people about how they are doing during COVID-19. Not all of them however wanted to talk about how they are doing on the record. Everyone I have talked to though agreed that this is a very depressing time. 

This story is about how two people who I have reported on in the past are doing during COVID-19.

In recent days I had once again the pleasure of talking to the person who is in this story here.

This story talks about how she was experiencing bus pass stigma. Thankfully that has stopped, and now these people are minding their own business when they see her on the bus. 

If you were to click on it and read the story, you will find that I have done three other stories on her, where I talked about how she first was preparing to have surgery, then had surgery, then recovered from surgery.

She tells me that the COVID-19 public health situation reminds her exactly of when she was recovering from surgery. 

Just like many others in her situation she is depressed 90% of the time. She tells me she makes more use of the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team then she wants to do in these days of COVID-19. 

Just like when she could not go out anywhere during her 8 weeks of recovering from surgery a few years, being alone and cooped up in her apartment is doing nothing for her depression and anxiety. 

I also recently had the pleasure of talking to Dorothy who I wrote about in this story.

Because of being depressed she slept all the time and only got out of bed to eat, and for things like medical appointments. She would sleep the day away, and watch TV at night, and she did this for almost a whole year

She filled me in on how she is doing during COVID-19.

During this time Dorothy, just like most people whose work is considered non- essential cannot go to her volunteer work or her part time job while COVID-19 is happening.  

The good news is that she is managing to keep herself from getting back into this depressed mode. Her ex partner, his new girlfriend, and her ex partner’s family has been taking the time to check-in on her while she is feeling isolated. They brought her a donation of second hand TV and a DVD player, with movies for her to watch. She appreciated those donations because her TV was getting old and at least this way she is keeping entertained while self isolating.  

Dorothy told me during my recent conversation that one reason why she was happy to hear from me when I contacted her, and these were her exact words, “Kendall, besides my ex boyfriend and some people in his family you are the only other person in this whole city who even comes close to being a friend.”

Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

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