“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Victor Frankl
As we continue to face daily challenges during this rapidly-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we need our mental health to be a focus of our attention. Many things have changed and continue to change in these unprecedented times.
Some of us were dealing with mental health concerns before the pandemic and the current situation may be exacerbating our illness or triggering symptoms. For some, we may actually be feeling a sense of respite and relief at the quieter, calmer pace of this new life. Please know that all of these responses are normal, valid and reasonable.
Responses to the pandemic vary from person to person and from day to day. Some might fear becoming ill, while others fear for the health and well-being of family members. Many of us feel some degree of stress from physical distancing and social isolation, and many are mourning losses ranging from the death of a loved one to feelings of loss related to the many plans and events that have been cancelled. There are also issues regarding changes to expected medical procedures and appointments, and for some, difficult domestic situations that are exacerbated during this time.
We wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge these challenging times and the toll they could be taking on our mental well-being and offer some assistance where we can.
If you are experiencing symptoms that you are concerned about, or are experiencing an exacerbation of a previous mental health issue, please contact your healthcare provider. Ontario healthcare providers are offering virtual appointments and can effectively assist with mental health concerns. Please reach out if you need help.
On our website kolhacovid.com and our Whatsapp broadcast we have started to compile a list of mental health resources. Feel free to contact us to suggest additions to this list. Making a difference in the lives of others often makes us feel better ourselves.
For all of us, there are several evidence-based steps we can take to help minimize some of the dysregulation related to quarantine. We will review some of them here. We have also provided some resources for individuals needing support during this time.
Please take good care of yourselves and each other during this challenging time,
The Kol HaCOVID Mental Health Subcommittee
Chaya Glogauer, PhD, CPsych (lead)
Debbie Bauer, BSc, OT Reg.
Ron Phillipson, MD
Rabbi Motti Rapoport
Rachel Shour, MD
(May 15, 2020)
Ten General Measures to Promote Mental Wellness During Quarantine:
- Maintain a structure to your day
- Exercise daily
- Engage in pleasurable activities, and enjoy them!
- Social distancing does not equal social isolation- reach out to family and friends via phone or other mediums of connection.
- Control the news you consume: limit the time you spend consuming news related to the pandemic. Ensure your sources for pandemic related information are reliable and credible
- Minimize screen time in general and try to identify other projects or activities that feel fun or productive. Hint: Accept and possibly embrace this unique time in history and see what ideas can come from this mindset.
- Offer help to others and accept help when you can.
- Find things to be grateful for every day and express that gratitude.
- Find things to say thank you for or people to say thank you to.
- Seek professional help from a trusted mental health professional when experiencing significant distress.
Mental Health Resources
General Mental Health and Wellbeing
- Toronto Public Health https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-mental-health-resources/
- Free online meditation resources: https://www.theawakenetwork.com/free-online-meditation-resources-for-the-time-of-social-distancing
- Anxious Times Support Group Free therapist-led online drop-in group to share, be heard, and find new ways of supporting yourself during the COVID-10 pandemic. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/anxious-times-support-a-drop-in-online-support-group-tickets-101596219026?aff=erellivmlt
- Amudim Anonymous Jewish support line 1-718-972-3000 amudim.org trained volunteer crisis responders
- Gerstein Crisis Line (24/7): 416-929-5200
- Toronto Distress Centre (24/7): 416-408-4357 or text 741741 (2am-2pm daily)
- Good2Talk Ontario Post-Secondary Student Support: 1-866-925-5454 (to speak to a counsellor) or text “GOOD2TALKON” to 686868 (to speak with a trained Volunteer Crisis Responder)
- For People Under 20 Years Old Kids Help Phone (24/7): 1-800-668-6868
- For People 65+ Years Old Crisis Outreach Service for Seniors (9:00am-5:00pm daily): 416-217-2077
If You Are Experiencing Abuse:
- Jewish Family and Child Services https://www.jfandcs.com/resources
- Assaulted Women’s Helpline – 24/7 | 416-863-0511 | TEXT #SAFE (#7233)
- 1 in 6 Men’s Helpline Chat –24/7 | 1in6.org/helpline/ Use the online chat to access counselling, support, and other resources
- Online AA Meetings During COVID-19 : http://aa-intergroup.org/directory.php docs.google.com/document/d/1a71ccw7ihaWelksKwOp4AzAkYlVqSoKiN6Gsm38bKMU/mobilebasic