Mercer asks for compassion, empathy in response to ‘abuse’ of public health staff

GUELPH – Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) officials are urging “compassion and empathy” in response to what they consider bullying and abuse of public health staff.

“In recent weeks, we have noticed a growing number of aggressive and negative comments directed toward our staff over the phone, via email and through online comments,” stated Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer in a letter to the community.

She acknowledged many residents in the region are feeling “stress, fear and pandemic fatigue” and are “exhausted after a year of living in uncertainty and change.”

However, she added, “there is never an excuse to bully or abuse anyone, including public health staff.”


The COVID-19 pandemic “has challenged all of us in ways that haven’t been seen in most of our lives,” Mercer wrote, but, “Supporting our community in this global crisis has been at the heart of everything [WDGPH] has done over the past year.

“Staff at our agency continue to work very hard to ensure that the pandemic ends as soon as possible in our region.”

She asked all residents to “exercise patience and kindness” when dealing with WDGPH staff.

“Treating each other with compassion and empathy is the only way we will get through this pandemic,” she stated.

Anyone in need of mental health support in Guelph and Wellington County can call Here 24/7 Waterloo Wellington at 1-844-437-3247.

To read the full letter, visit the WDGPH website.