Are you in need of addictions or mental health support? Contact the Addictions and Mental Health Services intake line at 613-310-OPEN (6736). If you are in crisis, please contact the Crisis Intervention Centre at 613-969-7400 ext. 2753.
As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to evolve, the community has been asked to take a number of enhanced measures to protect themselves and to help mitigate the spread in our area. In addition to physical health considerations, our mental and emotional health are also affected by these changes. We want to stay as informed as possible; however, immersion in the constant stream of outbreak news can lead to information overload, anxiety, and stress that negatively impact our mental health. Mental health is an important part of our overall health and affects not only ourselves, but those close to us.
The Psychology Foundation of Canada has created a number of COVID-19 mental health webinars to support Canadians’ mental health during the pandemic.
- Limit your news and social media exposure. Be sure you are getting information from reliable sources such as the World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.
- Focus on things that you have the power to influence. This includes following infection control practices that keep you and your family safe, organizing your home, connecting with your social supports through telephone, video chat, or text, and taking advantage of extra family time.
- Practice self-care. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, maintain good sleep routines and eat healthy food.
- Rest assured. Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected.
- Practice mental health first aid for yourself and others.
- Visit our page on Substance Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic for more information about managing substance use during stressful times.
- If you notice troubling mental health symptoms, seek support. Visit our Getting Help webpage or Anxiety Canada for more information.
Supporting Children During COVID-19
Kids are natural empaths and detect stress, fear, and anxiety in their parents and caregivers, which can lead to them internalizing those emotions and becoming anxious or fearful themselves.
Tips to help children and teens cope with COVID-19:
- Stay calm. Don’t avoid the subject, discuss COVID-19 with your children honestly, offering age-appropriate information. If your children have concerns, addressing those together may ease their anxiety.
- Recognize symptoms of stress and anxiety. Just like adults, not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Acting out, crying, irritability, and regressive behaviors can be signs of stress.
- Help children find positive ways to express their feelings. Offering a safe and supportive environment in which to voice their concerns is the first step. Encourage drawing, play-acting, or other creative outlets that enable kids to process and share their feelings.
- Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible, especially if children are confined to the home.
- Take advantage of extra time together to have fun!
There are a few specific things you can do and say to build your child’s resilience:
- Reassure your child that many doctors, nurses, and scientific experts around the world are working hard to keep us safe and healthy.
- Model healthy behaviours. Children are observant and pick up on body language and emotions. Help them to understand, verbalize, and organize their own feelings around the pandemic.
- Find out what they know about what is happening. Correct any misinformation about “this new germ”.
- Be honest, but positive. Reinforce that they are unlikely to get sick, but that it is still important that they do their part to protect themselves and their families, especially those who are at higher risk.
- Model good media habits and try to limit the news running in the background. Be mindful of your child’s exposure to the news. There will likely be an increase in screen time during physical distancing, explore child-appropriate options and watch together.
- Encourage and strengthen existing connections with family, friends and neighbours in creative ways.
- Talk to your child about supporting and thanking others who are on the frontlines of healthcare, and those who are maintaining our public services.
- The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health has put together a fact sheet offering information for First Nations, Inuit and Métis parents and caregivers to support the health and well-being of children and teens during this pandemic.
- Read this blog post by Dr. Robin Williams, Chair of the Canadian Paediatric Society Early Years Task Force, about how best to talk to children about COVID-19.
- For more tips, check out COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Talking to Children About the Pandemic created by the Ontario Ministry of Health.
Substance Use During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has created disruptions in our lives that can cause feelings of stress and anxiety. These feelings are normal. However, using alcohol, cannabis, or other substances to cope with negative feelings can make you feel worse and increase your risk of developing a substance use disorder. Many Canadians have reported an increase in substance use during the pandemic. Please review our web page on Substance Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic for more information and resources.
- Crisis Intervention Centre is a free community mental health program sponsored by Quinte Health Care. Telephone counselling is available by calling 613-969-7400 or 1-888-757-7766, extension 2753. Assistance is available to any adult (16 years and older) experiencing a psychological, emotional or situational crisis requiring immediate, short-term assistance.
- Kids Help Phone is available for children and youth who need additional support.
- Children’s Mental Health Services of Hastings Prince Edward offers mental health treatment services for children, youth and their families.
- Good2Talk is a phone and texting service that provides confidential mental health and addictions support to post-secondary students. Call 1-866-925-5454, text GOOD2TALKON to 686868, or learn more at good2talk.ca.
- The County of Prince Edward telephone line helps connect seniors, vulnerable members of the community, and residents in self-isolation with essential services and volunteer delivery of vital supplies. Residents can call 1-833-676-2148 to speak directly with staff.
- Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support is new website that provides free online resources, tools, apps and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals when needed.
- ConnexOntario provides free and confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental illness and/or gambling. Support is available via telephone, chat and email. Call 1-866-531-2600 or visit their website.
- Big White Wall is anonymous and open 24/7. This site offers community forums, articles and self-help courses.
- Stronger Minds by Beacon is a simple and free digital program designed to help Canadians stay resilient at a time when things feel anything but normal. Stronger Minds is not mental health treatment, but rather a program designed to help Canadians build resiliency and coping skills to better deal with the current situation.