The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is launching a second local impact survey to gain more insight into how individuals and families have been affected by the pandemic.
Results from the first survey conducted in the fall are still being analyzed and are expected to be shared in April. The health unit said results will be used to inform communities, services and programs about the adversities residents have faced during the pandemic.
“As the pandemic continues, so too does the impact on our residents and communities. While we have learned to adapt in some ways, the prolonged nature of the restrictions are directly affecting mental and physical health, livelihoods, the economy and our residents’ ability to get appropriate services,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka’s medical officer of health.
“Learning about the impacts of the pandemic on the residents of Simcoe Muskoka provides opportunities for organizations to improve programs and provide enhanced support to those who need it most. Sharing this information with community partners and to the political decision makers will also help to ensure we can coordinate and cooperate as needed.”
Simcoe Muskoka residents, including those living in Barrie and Orillia, are encouraged to provide feedback on their experiences, behaviours and opinions related to:
- Ability to get healthy food, or maintain living arrangements
- Income, stress, mental and physical health
- Access to health care services
- Parenting, children’s behaviours and mental health
- Following public health recommendations
- How the health unit has responded to the pandemic
- Alcohol use, smoking, non-medical use of prescription drugs.
The survey, available at www.smdhu.org/impactsurvey, can be completed by local residents who are 18 years of age and older. Identifying information is not collected from participants and privacy is maintained. The aim is to get feedback from as many residents as possible, and from those from all walks of life and living in a variety of situations, especially those who are often less likely to participate in surveys including males, residents whose first language is not English and people living with low income.
Municipal, community partner and service providers are urged to share the survey link and encourage their clients to have their say.
The survey results, along with the findings of the Mitigating Harms of Public Health Measures Situational Assessment completed in 2020 will provide valuable information on what pandemic impacts Simcoe Muskoka residents are experiencing and how organizations could enhance supports for residents.
More information about COVID-19 can be found at www.smdhu.org