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COVID-19 Life Part 1: Mental Health Services in Canada
Right now we are staying home and limiting our exposure to the outside world to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This has never happened in our lifetime and it’s now time to reflect on what we can control in our homes and our new lives. Naturally we are likely to experience high levels of stress and mixed emotions during these times. It is also a time where we are forced to be around the people we live with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter how much we love and appreciate our loved ones, these new living conditions can sometimes test the boundaries and space we are normally used to. There are lots of Canadians who have mental illness who can’t access their therapists, group counselling or supportive people in their lives that they rely on. Living with mental illness is difficult enough during “normal” times, so it’s even more important now that everyone has accurate information of where they can access support from a professional, online or through mobile support.
Here are a few FREE resources for Canadians you could check out to ensure you feel supported:
7 Cups is an online emotional support service available 24/7. There is also an online community you can join to discuss a variety of issues that might be impacting you. It is reassuring to see that others are going through difficult times and maybe you could be supporting others by sharing your experiences too.
Silver Cloud is an online stress management program for all Canadians until June 15, 2020. There are different programs you can join depending on your personal needs, and all are based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Kids Help Phone connects youth up to age 20 with a trained support provider 24/7 through text, call or online chat. They can also help you find mental health resources in your area and provide other information. They offer a crisis text service as well, called Crisis Text Line. Due to the higher volume of calls they are experiencing, it might take a few minutes to start chatting. So with this information, consider colouring, listening to calming music or whatever coping method that works for you while you wait.
Hope for Wellness is a service for Indigenous persons in distress. You can call their toll free number or go to the website and talk to a counsellor through the chat box on the main page in French or English. They also offer their services in Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut upon request.
For suicide support and prevention please contact Crisis Services Canada. You can call 24/7 on their phone line, but if you prefer texting they are available 4 pm - Midnight EST and standard text rates will apply.
For situations of domestic violence, visit Sheltersafe.ca to link to province-specific supports. You will want to connect to a local service to access their services if you need to leave your living situation. There is a “hide page” feature so that you can quickly leave their site if needed.
I don’t often give advice, but today I am telling you to take a deep breath, pause what you are doing, and explore with us the services that are there for you anytime you need them. Don’t hesitate to reach out to these services if you are struggling with your mental and emotional health, because you still deserve help, no matter what.
COVID-19 Life Part 2 will be coming soon and will be detailing a list and summary of resources you can access with several topics on how to help support yourself and others during this time. Take care of yourself while you are staying home and keep checking mindyourmind.ca for new blog posts and supportive tips.
Marnie is the Engagement and Partnership Coordinator at mindyourmind and happily worked front line in the mental health field for over a decade. She enjoys a good joke, plants and chasing after her puppy, Hondo!
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