The stress of this pandemic, and the social distancing that comes with it, is having an effect on the mental health of Canadians. Support is available from many local and provincial resources (this list will be periodically updated):
- BC Government Virtual Mental Health Supports: This is an impressive compilation of resources, mostly free or low cost, for people experiencing mental health problems during the pandemic. Virtual supports include: Peer Support, Coaching and Skills Building, Virtual Counselling, a Facilitated 8-week Mood and Stress management group, Mental health check ins, and more.
- The Foundry: Foundry Victoria offers young people, ages 12-24, access to mental health and substance use support, primary care, peer support and social services. All Foundry services have been modified, and they are providing most of their services virtually – over the phone or video chat. Please call Foundry Victoria at 250-383-3552 starting at 10:30AM daily for more information.
- Victoria Chapter of the CMHA: On their website (click the name for the link) they have listed all the supports they currently have available for people to access during the pandemic.
- AnxietyCanada.com: This is a wonderful resource for people who are experiencing anxiety. They are holding skill building “town halls”, have an app (MindShift CBT) that walks you through cognitive behavioral strategies where you can track your progress, and other self-care tools for reducing anxiety and managing stress. Highly recommended.
- Crisis Centre: For people who are experiencing thoughts of self harm or suicide, help is available 24 hours a day. The Vancouver Island crisis line is 1-888-494-3888 Crisis Chat is available at www.vicrisis.ca, and Crisis Text at 250-800-3806. Or you can call 310-6789 from anywhere in BC (do not enter an area code).
- Victoria Hospice Bereavement Services: Bereavement services are ongoing through Victoria Hospice during the pandemic. If you’re dealing with end-of-life or caring for someone who is, Hospice has a skilled team of volunteers and counsellors available to support you and your family. In general, our understanding is that bereavement services are available to any South Island resident. There is no requirement to have any prior connection to Victoria Hospice in order access their bereavement services.
- UVic Counselling Services for Students: In order to help reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 to students, staff and the wider community, UVic Counselling Services is offering appointments by phone: Same-day sessions can be booked over the telephone: 250-721-8341. Same day sessions are available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the morning and afternoon, and in the afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday.
- The Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook: Is a brilliant, free workbook (pdf) where you can plan your response to the anxiety and distress you are experiencing, using practical techniques based in CBT, Stoicism, Buddhism, Gratitude, Positive psychology, Mindfulness, and more. Made by The Wellness Society.
- University of Toronto free online course: Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19
The intent of this course is to give you a deeper understanding of the anxiety reaction as it relates to various aspects of our current life, ranging from our consumption of news to the way we talk to our children about this.