CMHA encourages virtual social connections for Mental Health Week

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.

List of Canadian Crisis Centre Numbers – National and Provincial

Mental Health Commission of Canada: Tips for managing COVID-19 anxiety

Mood Disorders Society of Canada

Provincial and territorial resources

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety and Depression

BC Mental Health Services

HealthLink BC mental health resources

ALBERTA

COVID-19 and your mental health

Coping and connection for children and families during COVID-19

Alberta Health Services mental health 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.

ONTARIO

Ontario mental health and addiction services

Ontario promotes free mental health portal during Coronavirus pandemic

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

QUEBEC: Stress, Anxiety and Depression Associated With the Coronavirus COVID-19 Disease

NEW BRUNSWICK: Mental health and coping during COVID-19

Addictions and mental health

SASKATCHEWAN: Saskatchewan Mental Health and Addiction Services

MANITOBA: Government of Manitoba – Mental health and addictions

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

YUKON: Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services across Yukon

NUNAVUT: Government of Nunavut – Mental Health

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