Mental Health and COVID-19

It's normal for situations like COVID-19 to affect your mental health. Everyone will experience these events in their own way. It is completely natural to feel stress and concern during these times and so it is important to practice positive coping strategies.

Below is a listing of Mental Health Resources available to you.

If you are in crisis, please contact the Mental Health Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 days a week) at 613-722-6914 or if outside Ottawa toll-free at 1-866-996-0991.

If you (or your child) are experiencing thoughts of suicide or harming yourself, please call 9-1-1. 

Get Help Now

We want to make sure that everyone who needs counselling can get it. 

Get Help Now

Counselling Connect

Counselling Connect provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area.
13 counselling services have joined forces to give you same-day or next-day access to a free counselling session. www.counsellingconnect.org

Information Line for Child and Youth Mental Health and Youth Addictions Services YSB has expanded the role of the crisis line and online chat to provide information about child and youth mental health and youth addiction services in Eastern Ontario.  The information and crisis line can be reached by calling 613-260-2360 or 1-877-377-7775 and the online chat at chat.ysb.ca

The Royal’s C-PROMPT clinic provides quick access to essential mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.  C-PROMPT is a referral-based service for adults (age 18 and older) who are at risk of worsening mental health or hospitalization due to mental illness of any kind during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telephone, Text and Chat Mental Health Services

Printable version of the Mental Health and COVID-19 Resource List. [PDF 262KB]

It is normal that situations like COVID-19 can affect your mental health and it’s completely OK to ask for help. If you need support, please connect with:

Telephone, text and chat mental health Services

  

Service

Contact Information

Kids Help Phone (Bilingual)

Call -1-800-668-6868

Text – #686868

Youth Services Bureau (Bilingual)

Call – 613-260-2360

Live Chat

Information Line for Child and Youth Mental Health and Youth Addictions Services

Call - 613-260-2360 or 1-877-377-7775

Live Chat

Good 2 talk (Bilingual)

Call -1-866-925-5454

Text - #686868

Distress Centre Ottawa and Region 24/7 (English)

Call - 613-238-3311

Tel-Aide Outaouais (FR)

Call - (613-741-6433) Or 819-775-3223 for Gatineau residents

Mental Health Crisis Line 24/7 (Bilingual)

Call - 613-722-6914 | Outside Ottawa: 1-866-966-0991

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line 24/7 (Bilingual, Other)

Call - 1-855-242-3310

Live Chat

Talk4Healing For Indigenous Women (English, Other)

Call - 1-855-554-HEAL

Text - 1-855-554-HEAL

Live Chat

Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre Crisis Line 24/7 (English)

Call - 613-562-2333 | 24hr line: 613-562-2333

Assaulted Women’s Helpline – Ontario (English, Other)

 

 

Call - 1-866-863-0511

Call Senior Safety Line - 1-866-299-1011

Text - #7233

Unsafe at Home Ottawa (Bilingual)

Text – (613) 704-5535  - 8:30 am to midnight

Live Chat

Ontario Online & Text Crisis Services (English)

 

Chat 2:00 pm to 2:00 am

Text 2:00 pm to 2:00 am to #258258

Canada Suicide Prevention Service (Bilingual)

 

Call – 1-833-456-4566

Residents of Quebec Call – 1-866-277-3553

Text 4:00 pm to 12:00 am to #45645 (English only)

 

 

Online Mental Health Resources and Additional Information

For information on how to cope with and reduce stress and anxiety, how to talk to your children about COVID-19, and how to support yourself as well as your loved ones' mental health, please visit:

 Online Mental Health Resources and Additonal Information
 
 For Everyone
 For Substance Use Disorder Support
  • Rideauwood - Wondering about substance use, behavioural addictions or mental health issues? You're not alone. We're right here.
  • Breaking Free Online (BFO) is a confidential online platform to help support wellness around substance use. Present physical (social) distancing measures are affecting the delivery of addiction services and the ability of clients to access treatment and recovery support. Breaking Free Online is offering their services to anyone with a substance use disorder who is not able to access their regular support. BFO will give them continuous access to personalized behavioural support online. To access this service, use the code CAPSA2020 to sign in. 
  • LESA (Centretown Community Health Centre) Addictions Treatment for Older Adults: Substance Use and Problem Gambling counselling sessions have been moved to telephone sessions. To book an appointment or learn more about this program please call 613-233-4443 x 2109.
  • Impacts of COVID-19 on Substance Use (Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addictions [CCSA])
  • COVID-19, Alcohol and Cannabis Use [Infographic] (CCSA)
  • COVID-19 and Cannabis Smoking [Infographic] (CCSA)

  • Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders (The Royal)
  • counsellingconnect.org - Adult, older adult, youth young adult and family substance use, gambling and gaming
  • Montfort Renaissance’s Service Access to Recovery (SAR) is Ottawa’s bilingual centralized access to all Ontario Health funded agencies providing addiction / concurrent disorder treatment. It is a starting point for people 16 years and older who are concerned about their substance use and want to understand, discuss and access treatment options. 

     

    To be evaluated and referred directly to treatment, call (613) 241-5202. Due to COVID-19 assessments are temporarily done over the phone and treatment options are more limited than usual, but new virtual support options are available.

 For Children
 For Youth and Young Adults
 For Parents
 For Older Adults
  • Seniors Centres Without Walls (The Good Companions)
  • A Friendly Voice (Rural Ottawa South Support Services)
  • COVID-19 Support Services (Champlain Community Support Network)
  • LESA (CCHC) Addictions Treatment for Older Adults: Substance Use and Problem Gambling counselling sessions have been moved to telephone sessions. To book an appointment or learn more about this program please call 613-233-4443 x 2109.
  • counsellingconnect.org
  • Montfort Renaissance provides individual support and contacts by phone for Francophone Seniors and Caregivers and social and recreational online activities through Mon Centre à distance.  Phone: 613-241-1266
 For Newcomer and Diverse Populations
  • Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization Counselling Services (OCISO)
  • Reaching IN... Reaching OUT

    This is a series of resources for parents to teach their children resilience and is available in multiple languages.

  • Ottawa Newcomer Health Centre
  • counsellingconnect.org
  • Bounce Back - Coaching + workbooks are available in English, French, Arabic, Farsi, Traditional Chinese and Spanish. Smaller format booklets are available in English, French, Punjabi, Traditional and Simplified Chinese. Coaching is also available in many other languages, but you will need to have a basic English reading level to work through the workbooks.
    • Videos are available in English, French, Arabic, Farsi, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Punjabi.
  • Walk-in Counselling Clinics (visit their website for appropriate phone numbers) In response to the COVID-19 situation, the Walk-in Counselling Clinic is offering phone and video counselling services. Visit their website for more information.
    • Services available in English, French, Cantanese, Mandarin, Arabic and Spanish
For First Nations, Inuit and Métis
For People Experiencing Violence
For Health Care Workers

Protecting Your Mental Health

The COVID-19 situation can be very stressful. It is really important to take care of our mental health during challenging times like this. 

Ottawa Public Health and The Royal Mental Health Centre have collaborated to produce the “Protecting Your Mental Health” series to help protect and promote mental health in our community. 

 Protecting Your Mental Health Series

Check out the resources in this series for ideas on how you can protect you and your families’ mental health, as well as information about how and where to access mental health supports. 

We are all in this together! 

How can we practice being resilient?

Printable version of How can we practice being resilient? [PDF 339 KB] 

Protecting your Mental Health
How can we practice being resilient?

The COVID-19 situation can be stressful for many of us. Images from media, changes to our routines and not seeing family and friends, can be challenging. It is normal to feel stress at times like these. Our resilience level is how we get through these challenges and recover afterwards. Being resilient is a skill that we can learn at any age. We can also improve our resilience throughout our life.
Here are some tips to help be more resilient: 

1. Think of strategies that helped you cope with stress in the past.

Which of those strategies worked well for you? Can you use some of those strategies now? “Music and exercise are the two activities that most consistently help us manage anxiety or depression so get out your playlist or build a new one. You can also find exercise websites online. For example, Yoga with Adriene at yogawithadriene.com.” - Dr. Gail Beck, Clinical Director of The Royal’s Youth Program. 

2. You can't change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you respond to these events.

“We have an opportunity, on a scale never seen, together with the rest of humanity, to foster kindness, and bravery that will transform this tragic but temporary situation into something much more meaningful. Hope and the choice to adapt and improve, can be just as contagious, but more constructive and powerful. And it is something we all need to work on in these uncertain times. If we do, we will all be stronger afterwards.” - Dr. Tim Lau, psychiatrist and President of the Medical Staff at The Royal.

3. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings and stay connected with people you trust via phone, social media or video conferencing.

4. If you are not on self-isolation, go for a walk.
Remember to practice physical distancing and stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.

5. Keep your routines as much as possible.
Make a schedule or timetable to help your children and family keep regular routines.

6. Practice positive self-talk and think of yourself in a positive way.
The way we think about things affects our feelings and actions. Thinking positively can help you overcome a challenge.

“Focus on the positive and what you can do. Honour people’s contributions to improving the situation. Look for the good; practice gratitude; discover meaningful activities; find ways to practice creativity; discover fun, enjoyable, uplifting distractions and activities; read inspirational material and affirmations.” – Juliet Haynes, MSW, RSW, Family Engagement and Experience Coordinator at The Royal.

7. Remember that it’s ok not to be ok.

“It would be somewhat odd not to have a certain degree of anxiety during a time of such uncertainty,” says Dr. Raj Bhatla, psychiatrist-in-chief and chief of staff at The Royal. “The anxiety piece is normal. The real question is, how do you cope with the anxiety, and how do you continue to do some of the things that help with anxiety?”

“It starts with acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic has landed us in unchartered territory. That requires us to do a bit of a check-in: ‘How am I? What are my emotions like today? What can I do with what I've got?’ Look at your day and put together a plan of how you can be most positive and constructive. What is within your control today? What do you have today that you know to be useful for yourself? Looking too far toward the future, meanwhile, is not such a great idea. It's best to take things one day at a time.” – Ann-Marie O'Brien, Professional Practice Lead and Social Worker at The Royal

If you need support please call the Distress Centre Ottawa and Region 24/7 - 613-238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais - 613-741-6433 in French.

CounsellingConnect.org provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. There is no waiting list.

For more support and information visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

You are not alone.
We are all in this together! 

What can you do to stay connected during self-isolation?

Printable version of What can you do to stay connected during self-isolation? [PDF 274 KB]

Protecting your Mental Health
What can you do to stay connected during self-isolation?

Self-isolation is critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Self-isolation helps to protect your family, friends, neighbours and everyone else in our community. We must all do our part to keep each other safe.
Although it is the right thing to do, it does not mean it is the easy thing to do. Being in self-isolation does not mean you are alone. You can still stay in touch with those you love, and the outside world. Here are some tips to stay connected!

1. Use technology to reach out!
Connect with family and friends through the phone, texting, video chats and social media. Ask your friends and family how they are coping and talk about how you can get through this together. Digital tools like Skype, Google Hangout, and Facetime are a great way to have face-to-face conversations while maintaining physical distancing. If you are missing games night, play online. Share traditions, sing or dance together. You can even have dinner together on video. Being at home does not mean being alone. 

2. Use technology to connect to the world outside.
You can learn a new hobby or activity online. You could try a new exercise class or learn a new skill. Many museums and art galleries have online tours, or you could learn a new language. You can stay physically and mentally healthy by trying new things!

https://www.theroyal.ca/great-big-list-things-can-help-you-cope-while-practicing-physical-distancing-and-self-isolation 

3. Send a loved one a care package, card or letter to let them know you are thinking of them. 
Include things you already have at home like photos or books, or regift something you aren't using anymore. This is a kind gesture and will let your loved one know that you are there for them. Please remember that if you are feeling ill, do not prepare and send care packages. For a list of COVID-19 symptoms, go to OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.

4. Check out services that provide over the phone support.
The Good Companions Seniors Centre offers programs for older adults and adults with physical disabilities including Senior Centres Without Walls and the Telephone Assistance ProgramA Friendly Voice is a telephone friendly visiting line for seniors offered by Rural Ottawa South Support Services.

Learn about other phone, text, chat and online resources to support your mental health during this time on Ottawa Public Health’s Mental Health and COVID-19 webpage. Bell Let’s Talk and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have some great information on coping with stress and protecting your mental health. 
Other suggestions that might be a good fit for you include:

5. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay.
This is a very unusual time and it is completely normal to find it challenging. You are not alone. There are people who can help. If you need support please call the Distress Centre Ottawa and Region 24/7 - 613-238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais - 613-741-6433 in French.

CounsellingConnect.org provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. There is no waiting list.

For more support and information visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

More ideas about staying connected can be found here: https://www.theroyal.ca/great-big-list-things-can-help-you-cope-while-practicing-physical-distancing-and-self-isolation 

You are not alone.
We are all in this together! 

 What you can do as an older adult?
Printable version of What you can do as an older adult? [PDF 296 KB]  

Protecting Your Mental Health
What You Can Do as an Older Adult?

The COVID-19 situation can be stressful for many of us, and even more so for older people with mobility issues, and those over 70 who are told to self-isolate. Here are some things we can all do to stay mentally well during these difficult times.

1. Use technology to reach out.

Connect with family and friends through the phone, texting, video chats, and social media. Reconnect with friends you haven’t heard from in awhile. Ask your friends and family how they are coping and talk about how you can get through this together. Digital tools like Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout, and Facetime are a great way to have face-to-face conversations while maintaining physical distancing. You can also stay in touch with the people in your immediate area through a neighbourhood Facebook group. Many people are sharing tips, resources, and support, in these community groups. Check out www.ConnectedCanadians.ca to learn about their technology and training programs.

2. Use technology to connect to the world outside.

Visit a museum (www.Nature.ca) or art gallery (www.Gallery.ca) online. Learn a new hobby or activity online. Try a new exercise class or learn a new skill. “Most wireless companies have become more forgiving of wireless usage so why not take advantage of this? You can also download a magazine from the library or a film or an audiobook. CBC has all of its programming available free for the time being; this will provide a lot of entertainment for you and your family.” - Dr. Gail Beck, Clinical Director of The Royal’s Youth Program

3. Send cards or letters to let loved ones know you are thinking of them.

Remember, there are people who can help you get through this.

Community connections that offer phone support

Community Supports that offer emotional support

Clinical Supports

  • The C-PROMPT clinic is a temporary outpatient clinic established at The Royal to meet urgent mental health care needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The C-PROMPT clinic is staffed by a team of mental health nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who provide services like urgent assessments, medication support, short-term psychotherapy, and help with accessing other services as required. Ask your health care provider for a referral.
  • Geriatric Psychiatry Community Services of Ottawa (613-562-9777 ext. 0) supports people over 65 living with mental health problems (not in a long-term care home, and those under 65 with dementia and having behavioral or psychological symptoms.

CounsellingConnect.org provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. There is no waiting list.

For more support and information visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth. 

You are not alone.
We are all in this together!

 What can you do as an essential worker?

Printable version of What can you do as an essential worker? [PDF 331 KB]  

Protecting Your Mental Health
What can you do as an essential worker?

During COVID-19, many people are working from home, self-isolating or not working because their workplace has closed. However, there are many essential workers still going to work to keep our community going. We want to thank each and every one of you for the important work you are doing!
Every day that you go to work you are putting others first. That is why it is so important to take care of yourself too. Please take these steps to protect your own mental health at this very challenging time:

1. Take time off to rest.
It may be a hard thing for you to do to at this time, but it is so important to take your breaks and take time off. Being away from work and resting will give you the strength and mental energy you need to keep doing the work you are doing. “Set boundaries – strive for work-life balance. Take breaks, especially media breaks! Recognize those things within your control and choices you can make. We only have power over ourselves and our reactions/responses!” - Juliet Haynes, MSW, RSW, Family Engagement and Experience Coordinator at The Royal.

2. Practice self-care.

Build up your inner strength by eating well, getting fresh air and exercise when and where you can, and doing the things that make you feel good. Be wary of increased substance use. “Meet basic needs – attend to personal hygiene. Be mindful of self-care. Practice relaxation by slowing down your breathing and scheduling ‘nothing time.’ Exercise.” – Juliet Haynes, MSW, RSW, Family Engagement and Experience Coordinator at The Royal.

3. Get a good night’s sleep.
It might be a challenge but try and go to sleep and wake up at the same time every night. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine and put your mobile phone away in the evenings. For additional sleep tips from the experts, check out this page on theroyal.ca. https://www.theroyal.ca/news/covid-19-qa-good-sleep-troubled-times 

4. Limit the amount of time you spend thinking about COVID-19.
Staying informed is important. However, no matter what your job is, you see the reality of the current situation every day that you are at work. When you are away from work take this time to do things you enjoy. Dr. Bhatla, Chief of Staff at The Royal, recommends checking your favourite news source once or twice a day and then stepping away from the screen.
If you do want to stay up to date on the situation with COVID-19 go to trusted resources like OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus

5. Stay connected with your loved ones.
When you are working, you are busy. Use some of your time off to reach out to your loved ones and stay connected. Call or text your family and friends or stay in touch through social media or online chats. Maybe send a letter to people you don’t see often.
“Use virtual means to connect with friends, family, colleagues, and other supports. Schedule regular check-ins with others. Are you living with people or pets? – hug them! Hug a teddy bear! Give yourself some self-love!” – Juliet Haynes, MSW, RSW, Family Engagement and Experience Coordinator at The Royal. 

6. Seek out more support if you need it. It’s okay to not be okay.
The work that you are doing is so important. But it is normal to feel the stress and pressure of this situation. Please reach out for further support if needed. If you need support please call the Distress Centre Ottawa and Region 24/7 - 613-238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais - 613-741-6433 in French.
For more support and information visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

If you are a healthcare worker, COVID Frontline Wellness is here to support your well-being. Please visit the website at theroyal.ca/covid-frontline-wellness.

CounsellingConnect.org provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. There is no waiting list.

Thank you for your ongoing work to keep our community safe and healthy!

You are not alone.
We are all in this together!

 What can you do when working from home?

Printable version of What can you do when working from home? [PDF 268 KB]

Protecting Your Mental Health
What can you do when working from home?

Many people are working from home during the current pandemic, some for the first time. This situation has required many people to adapt and adapt very quickly. Many people are trying to maintain a work routine as well as balancing other responsibilities. This can include new challenges with childcare or eldercare. This can also include finding a proper workspace and dealing with feelings of loneliness while practicing physical distancing.
Know that the sacrifices you are making now have meaning. Adapting your way of working is helping to keep others safe. Thank you! Here are some ways to protect your mental health. 

1. While this situation is not normal, it is important to try to maintain some routine.
For example, try to go to bed and wake up at similar times every day. “Look at your day and put together a plan of how you can be most positive and constructive. Looking too far toward the future, meanwhile, is not such a great idea. It's best to take things one day at a time.” – Ann-Marie O'Brien, Professional Practice Lead and Social Worker at The Royal. 

2. Set up a designated workspace.
If you have room in your home, make a designated workspace. This helps you to take breaks from your work and feel like you are not always on. 

3. Be patient with your self and others in your household.
This is a new situation and it takes time to develop new routines. If you have children at home, they are also dealing with these changes. It is normal for them to have emotional reactions. “During times like these, the basics are really important – proper sleep, good nutrition, and exercise. Each member of your family will cope in their own way. Remember to give each other space in whatever way you can manage. If possible, have a space that is ‘adults only.” – Ann-Marie O'Brien, Professional Practice Lead and Social Worker at The Royal.

For more information on how to support your children, visit our section for parents

4. Find the humour and joy in the situation.
Maybe it’s laughing during a teleconference meeting as you all learn new technology; getting to spend more time with family or learning a new skill. Look for things that make you smile. 

5. Limit the amount of time you spend thinking about COVID-19.
Staying informed is important. However, to protect your mental health, it is important to limit your time on COVID-19 media. Keep in mind there comes a point when binging on news isn’t helpful anymore and can even add to our feelings of anxiety. Dr. Bhatla, Chief of Staff at The Royal, recommends checking your favourite news source once or twice a day and then stepping away from the screen. If you want to stay up to date, go to trusted resources like OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus

6. Stay connected with loved ones.
You are busy when working but you can use some of your time off to connect with loved ones. Call or text your family and friends or stay in touch through social media or online chats. Maybe send a letter to people you don’t see often. Self isolation doesn’t have to be mental isolation. Dr. Andrew Jacobs, a psychologist at The Royal, suggests this might be a good time to rekindle old connections. “Maybe it’s time to call someone you haven’t spoken to for months... and to build that community so that you feel that sense of support whether or not you’re seeing the person face to face.” 

7. Seek out more support if you need it.
It is normal to feel the stress and pressure of this situation. 

If you need support please call the Distress Centre Ottawa and Region 24/7 - 613-238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais - 613-741-6433 in French.

CounsellingConnect.org provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. There is no waiting list.

For more support and information visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth. 

You are not alone.
We are all in this together!

 What if you lose your job?

Printable version of What if you lose your job? [PDF 265 KB] 

Protecting Your Mental Health
What if you lose your job?

The current COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for everyone. As well as the worry about COVID-19, some people have been laid off and may be struggling financially. We encourage you to use the help available from our Federal, Provincial, and Local governments. It is also very important to do what you can to protect your mental health.

1. Limit the time you spend thinking about COVID-19.
It is good to know what is happening but listening to the news too much can affect your mental health. Make sure to do other things that you enjoy. This will help take your mind off the current situation.
Dr. Bhatla, Chief of Staff at The Royal, recommends checking your favourite news source once or twice a day and then stepping away from the screen.
When you do want to know about COVID-19 and how to stay safe, use credible sources of information, such as OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.

2. Keep a routine and daily schedule.

While you may not be waking up at your regular time to go to work, it is good for your mental health to keep a routine. Try to get up and go to bed around the same time every day. Even if you are not going out to work, you can still have a shower and get dressed as if you were.
“Look at your day and put together a plan of how you can be most positive and constructive. Looking too far toward the future, meanwhile, is not such a great idea. It's best to take things one day at a time.” – Ann-Marie O'Brien, Professional Practice Lead and Social Worker at The Royal.

3. Eat healthy foods and stay physically active.

Make sure your body gets the healthy food it needs to stay physically and mentally well. Try to exercise regularly as well. You can do a lot of things online like meditations, yoga or other exercise classes. You can also go out for walks if you have not been told to self-Isolate, but keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people.
Some other ideas can be found here at - https://www.theroyal.ca/great-big-list-things-can-help-you-cope-while-practicing-physical-distancing-and-self-isolation

4. Stay in touch with family and friends.

Being in self-isolation or even practising physical distancing does not mean that you cannot stay connected. Reach out to your loved ones in other ways. Call or text your family and friends or stay in touch through social media or online chats. Maybe send a letter to people you don’t see often. Ask your friends and family how they are coping and talk about how you can get through this together. Digital tools like Skype, Google Hangout, and Facetime are a great way to have face-to-face conversations while maintaining physical distancing.
It’s worth repeating - physical distancing does not have to mean emotional distancing!

5. Focus on the positive and what you can do.
Seek and share positive news stories (but don’t forget to take media breaks). Practice gratitude and find new ways to be creative. Ask your family and friends to recommend some fun, enjoyable, uplifting distractions and activities.

6. This is not a normal time and it is okay to not be okay. Ask for help if you need it.
It is very important to reach out to any support network you want to discuss how you are feeling – family, friends, colleagues – via phone, email, Facetime, Zoom, or text. More importantly, reach out to your physician if you are feeling unwell. Many physicians are providing virtual appointments, so this may be an option for you.
There is also financial assistance available from the Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments.
If you or someone you know is having a hard time coping with the stress of this current situation, please reach out for help. 

If you need support please call the Distress Centre Ottawa and Region 24/7 - 613-238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais - 613-741-6433 in French.

CounsellingConnect.org provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. There is no waiting list.

For more support and information visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.


You are not alone. We are all in this together!

 

Managing Through COVID-19: an Employer's Guide

This is an unprecedented time of change for all of us. Some workplaces are needing to drastically adapt the way they do business, while others have had to close temporarily.  Even though the current situation is new, you can still use proven mental health resources and strategies to support your employees.

Managing Through COVID-19: an Employer's Guide

The National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace provides all workplaces with guidance on how to protect the mental health of their employees.  This guide provides recommendations on how to protect your employee’s mental health during the time of COVID-19.   

Employer's Guide

  
Factsheets
Managing Through COVID-19: Protecting your employees' mental health while working from home

Printable version of Protecting your employees' mental health while working from home [PDF 236]

During COVID-19 many workplaces have made significant changes to how they work. For some workplaces, this means having employees working from home. Teleworking allows employees to be productive and continue to contribute to their employer. However, working from home can be challenging for some.
Many employees may not have a designated office space or the tools and resources they need to work from home. Many employees will be balancing childcare or other caregiver roles and responsibilities. Still others might find themselves working at home with no interaction with any of their loved ones. Now, more than ever, is the time to protect your employees’ mental health and safety.

  1. Ensure your employees have the tools and resources they need to continue to do their job – For many employees, working from home is a new experience. Ensure that your employees have the tools that they need to continue to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
  2. Acknowledge the work and effort that your employees are putting into adapting to this new situation - Many people find change to be difficult. This current situation is a change that no one anticipated, and it is important to acknowledge and thank your employees for their efforts.
  3. Acknowledge the importance of the sacrifices your employees are making by working from home – Let your employees know that you see and acknowledge the challenges they are going through by teleworking. However, also let them know that there is meaning and purpose behind why they are doing this. We are all in this together.
  4. Encourage patience and humour from all your employees while adjusting to telework – This current situation is not normal, and everyone copes with stress and change differently. Remind your employees to be patient with themselves and their co-workers.
  5. Ensure your employees know how to access mental health support– Let your employees know about existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides.

For additional supports they can call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 in French. For more information and resources visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

For more information, visit our Managing Through COVID-19 An Employer’s Guide.

Managing Through COVID-19: Protecting the mental health of essential workers

Printable version of Protecting the mental health of essential workers [PDF 235 KB]

The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging time for many people in our community. There is a lot of worry and concern about getting sick, loved ones getting sick, and an uncertainty about the future. However, our essential workers, from frontline healthcare, to grocery store workers, to garbage collectors, to postal workers are continuing to go to work to support our community. We all thank you! 

Now, more than ever, it is vital to make sure that as an employer or leader you are protecting the mental health and safety of essential workers. Here are some suggestions of how to support your employees.

  1. Set up your workplace to allow for physical distancing – Be clear and direct about the steps you are taking to keep employees and members of the community you serve safe.
  2. Follow recommendations from trusted sources such as Ottawa Public Health to ensure that your workplace is taking appropriate precautions – Ottawa Public Health has developed a website that provides up-to-date information to workplaces during the pandemic.
  3. Designate a ‘safe room’ where employees can go – In this time, more than ever, people need to take a step away from this current reality. A quiet space to collect themselves and to take time for themselves can give them the opportunity to decompress and to be able to continue working.
  4. Encourage employees to take their days off – Many people are working long hours during the pandemic. This makes the time that they do take off that much more critical to both their mental and physical health.
  5. Acknowledge the work and dedication that your employees demonstrate – Essential workers of all kinds are showing everyone just how much we rely on them. It is important now, and every day to let them know that they are appreciated, and we are all grateful.
  6. Ensure your employees know how to access mental health support– Let your employees know about existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides.

For additional supports they can call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 in French. For more information and resources visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

For more information, visit our Managing Through COVID-19: An Employer’s Guide.

 Managing Through COVID-19: Protecting the mental health of employees who were laid off

Printable version of Protecting the mental health of employees who were laid off [PDF 237 KB]

Many workplaces were required to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. This adds a level of uncertainty and worry to an already challenging situation. As a business owner, manager or leader, there are steps you can take to support your employees’ mental health during this time.

  1. Keep your employees informed about new and upcoming changes as much as possible -When people are informed of what changes are coming and how things are being addressed, they are better able to cope with the change.
  2. Communicate openly and honestly about the potential for job loss and any plans in place to support your employees – Transparency is essential to protect the psychological well-being of your staff. People need to know what changes to expect if they are going to be able to develop a plan to manage them.
  3. Inform your employees about the assistance available to them from the FederalProvincial, and Municipal governments – People will feel supported when they know that there are resources available to help them get through this difficult time.
  4. Acknowledge the value of the work that your employees have already contributed to the organization – Demonstrate the value that your employees have contributed to your organization. For example, let them know that the work they have done has benefited their local community, or your organization, or whatever the appropriate example is for your workplace.
  5. Continue to reach out to your employees during this time – Where appropriate, keep in contact with your staff. Keep them informed of any changes that they can expect.
  6. Ensure your employees know how to access mental health support– Let your employees know about existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides.

For additional supports they can call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 in French. For more information and resources, visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

For more information, visit our Managing Through COVID-19: An Employer’s Guide.

Managing Through COVID-19: Protecting the mental health of employees returning to work

Printable version of Protecting the mental health of employees returning to work [PDF 235 KB]

As workplaces begin to reopen, many people will feel a sense of hope. However, there may also be a level of worry and concern that comes with the reopening. This is especially true for employees returning to work. As a leader in your workplace there are things that you can do to reduce your employee’s anxiousness or concern and help to protect their mental health.

  1. Set up your workplace to allow for physical distancing – Be clear and direct about the steps you are taking to keep employees and members of the community you serve safe.
  2. Follow recommendations from trusted sources such as Ottawa Public Health to ensure that your workplace is taking appropriate precautions – Ottawa Public Health has developed a website that provides up-to-date information to workplaces during the pandemic.
  3. Acknowledge the efforts made by your employees to adapt – In order to protect everyone’s health and safety, changes to the work environment must occur. However, it is important to recognize and appreciate the flexibility and resilience of your employees.
  4. Foster an environment of trust and respect to ensure that employees voice their concerns – Ask your employees to report any concerns they may have about their current working conditions and act on those concerns.
  5. Discuss the possibility of flexible work arrangements – Your employees may be balancing demands in their personal lives that they did not have to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Discuss ways to help balance these demands.
  6. Ensure your employees know how to access mental health support– Let your employees know about existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides.

For additional supports they can call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 in French. For more information and resources visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

For more information on supporting employees’ mental health, visit our Managing Through COVID-19: An Employer’s Guide.

Employer Resources

Information on COVID-19

Mental health resources related to COVID-19

Websites to support workplaces to protect psychological health and safety in the workplace

 

 Employee Resources

How are you coping?

Assessing the psychological, social, and economic impacts of an emerging pandemic.

 How are you coping?  COVID-19 Survey

How are you coping? Assessing the psychological, social, and economic impacts of an emerging pandemic.

How are you coping? COVID-19 Survey  

The purpose of this study is to better understand how the COVID-19 outbreak affects several aspects of life. 

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