TORONTO — The Canadian Mental Health Association is urging Canadians to “get real” about what they’re going through during this pandemic.
As part of the organization’s 69th edition of Mental Health Week, CMHA is focusing on social connections and they’re importance in maintaining good mental health.
This year, the CHMA is hoping Canadians “get real” with what they’re going through, meaning to really open up with someone about what they might be experiencing.
“Many of us say we’re fine, even when we don’t mean it,” the CHMA wrote on their website. “‘Fine’ keeps us at arm’s length from real social connections with others. Every time we just go through the motions, we miss a chance to connect with others in a meaningful way.”
CMHA said feelings of loneliness and isolation were already a major concern before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now that more people are staying indoors and away from others, it’s even more of an issue.
According to the CMHA website, people with weak social connections are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, anti-social behaviour and suicidal behaviours, while a lack of strong relationships can be compared to smoking 15 cigarettes per day when it comes to its effect on the mortality rate.
Given current health recommendations include avoiding close in-person contact, the CMHA is encouraging people to reach out to each other through phone or video calls, as well as through text messages.
National mental health resources
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) offers a range of FAQs, self-assessment tools, and tip sheets here.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) offers some tips to stay mentally well through these difficult times.
Canada’s National Defence department also offers some helpful tips.
World Health Organization (WHO) on coping with stress during COVID-19.
WHO on helping children cope with stress during COVID-19.
Mental Health Commission of Canada: Tips for managing COVID-19 anxiety
Provincial and territorial resources
Alberta Health Services program Text4Hope: a free service providing three months of daily Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)-based text messages written by mental health therapists.
Bounce Back: Free mental health phone line support with a coach and online videos
Big White Wall: Free 24/7 peer-to-peer online mental health support network for Ontarians aged 16+
Toronto professer creates free online course to manage mental health during covid crisis
Psychotherapist Karen Dougherty created Ontario COVID-1 Therapists to offer free therapy to frontline healthcare workers
NEW BRUNSWICK: Mental health and coping during COVID-19
SASKATCHEWAN: Saskatchewan Mental Health and Addiction Services
The Manitoba government launches a free online counselling program to help people struggling with anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
NOVA SCOTIA: Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addictions
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: PEI Mental health and addictions supports
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR: Mental health and addictions
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES: NWT Community Counselling Program