The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) reports, “A recent poll found that 7 out of 10 Ontarians believe that there will be a ‘serious mental health crisis’ as a result of the pandemic.” World Health Organization (WHO) physician Dr. Petsanis says, “Mental health repercussions regarding what is happening during this pandemic for people, today and beyond, will really be a problem in general. In general, stress behaviour for many, many people brings a lot of problems.” And more than 40% of Americans surveyed reported that COVID-19 is harming their mental health.
Fortunately, Canadian federal and provincial governments are recognizing that mental health issues need to be addressed and have provided a number of resources. Other communities of faith and mental health facilities also have them. Some of them are:
Mind Beacon www.mindbeacon.com. For Ontarians, this is a free service funded by the Government of Ontario. It may also be a free service through Green Shield in other provinces, available at www.mindbeacon.com/strongerminds.
Mental Health Commission of Canada. They have several free resources in both official languages at www.mentalhealthcommission.ca. There’s a one-page summary that you may find helpful, or choose to share, called “Coping with Stress, Anxiety and Substance Use during COVID-19”.
CAMH has mental health information and support at https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19.
WHO has many resources, as well as good information, on COVID-19, including a story book for younger children (ages 6 – 11) called “My Hero is You, How kids can Fight COVID-19!”, found at https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/09-04-2020-children-s-story-book-released-to-help-children-and-young-people-cope-with-covid-19. They also have tips for parenting at home at https://www.who.int/campaigns/connecting-the-world-to-combat-coronavirus/healthyathome/healthyathome—healthy-parenting and UNESCO has tips to help your children learn at home, at https://en.unesco.org/news/covid19-quick-tips-support-your-children-learning-home
Rev. Diane Strickland, United Church of Canada minister has posted four videos on YouTube, to help people cope in the midst of this health crisis. https://www.youtube.com/user/MyDiane1956/videos.
Some companies have Employee and Family Assistance Programs to which they can reach out. And Morneau Shepell is offering a free mobile app called WellCan www.wellcan.ca. Available in both official languages, it has mental health resources and tools to help all Canadians.
And if you’re experiencing feelings of grief or loss, you’re not alone. The Harvard Business Review has an article “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief” at https:/hbr.org.
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