We got this.
It's normal to feel anxious and afraid as we deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation is stressful for everyone; people living with mental illness and addictions may be finding it especially difficult to cope. We encourage everyone to access the resources on this site, and to respect how others are adjusting in this time of transition.
Mental Health and Wellness Resource Hub
The pandemic has drastically changed the way we live, work, and connect with each other in a very short period of time. Right now it is normal to be experiencing a whole host of emotions, including anxiety, anger, sadness, and uncertainty. Our minds and our bodies are closely connected, so it is also likely that you are losing sleep and experiencing other physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, aches and pains, headaches, and low energy.
How will this toolkit help? We all need to find a sense of control right now. This toolkit is designed to help you focus on the parts of your life that you can take charge of and stop spending energy on the things you cannot control.
Canadians are being asked to practice physical distancing to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Many Canadians now work from home, cancelling large meetings, and generally limiting their physical interactions with their colleagues, peers, and family.
These new restrictions may affect the physical and mental health of Canadians. Now more than ever is the time to adhere to healthy lifestyle behaviours, including a good night’s sleep, engaging in regular exercise, and moderating your sedentary time to maintain a healthy immune system and build a strong defence. Getting some time outdoors every day if you can, is also important to combat feelings of depression and anxiety that may come with self-isolation.
What does adhering to healthy movement behaviours look like? The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has published Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the early years, children and youth, and Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for adults, and older adults.
- Learn more about Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines
- Learn the guidelines for the Early Years (0 to 4)
- Learn the guidelines for Children and Youth (5 to 17)
- Learn the guidelines for Adults (18 to 64)
- Learn the guidelines for Seniors (65+)
Please note that the information published here is based on current recommendations. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving and recommendations may be subject to change. For updated information, please check with your local public health authority.
Help in Tough Times; we're here to help
At some point in our lives we all have stressful times. We can be impacted by such things as financial pressures, unexpected difficulties, unemployment, or stressful situations such as the current outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support is available from Alberta Health Service Addiction and Mental Health, although how the services are provided may have changed. AHS has resources and services, such as Text4Hope and Togetherall, available to help you or someone you know.
Talk to Someone 24/7
- Dial 911 for Emergency Assistance
- Call the Mental Health Helpline at 1.877.303.2642 or visit AHS Mental Health Support
- Call the Addiction Helpline at 1.866.332.2322 or visit AHS Addiction Support
Text4Hope is a free service providing three months of daily Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT–based text messages written by mental health therapists. An Alberta-based innovation, Text4Hope is an evidence-based tool that helps people identify and adjust the negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours a pandemic might be expected to provoke.
Through a set of daily messages, people receive advice and encouragement helpful in developing healthy personal coping skills and resiliency. Community members simply subscribe to receive ongoing supportive content. There is no cost, however standard message rates pay apply. Please check with your mobile provider.
Text COVID19HOPE to 393939 to subscribe.
Togetherall is a clinically moderated, online peer-to-peer mental health community that empowers individuals to anonymously seek and provide support 24/7. Togetherall is free to all Albertans aged 16-plus, register using your Alberta postal code.
- A safe and vibrant online community where individuals remain anonymous to each other and can draw strength and insights from others that have real lived experiences
- Resources that are easily accessible and active 24/7/365, no formal referral needed
- Peace of mind knowing the community is clinically moderated by registered mental health practitioners who ensure individuals are kept safe and feel supported
- Access to additional self-assessments, recommended resources and self-guided courses to help foster positive mental health and wellbeing
- Creative tools to help members express and track how they are feeling in a way that feels comfortable to them
Help is still available even if you are infected or in isolation. If you or someone you know is at risk of family violence, help is available. Call Alberta’s 24-hour Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in over 170 languages. Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger. Police and RCMP will respond even if you have COVID-19 or are in self-isolation or quarantine and experiencing symptoms.
Family violence is an abuse of power in a family or other trusting relationship where people rely on each other. When someone experiences family violence, their well-being, security and survival are threatened. Rates of family violence increase during and following natural disasters, public health crises and economic downturns. It is important to know where you can turn if you are experiencing family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As older adults are more at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased need for them to practice physical (social) distancing and self-isolation. This may make them more vulnerable to abuse. The Family Violence Info Line (310-1818) can assist with information on elder abuse shelters and community resources.
Call 911 if you or the person you are reporting is in immediate danger.
Children are at a much higher risk for neglect and abuse during times of uncertainty and crisis. Help is still available even if you are infected or in isolation. Call the Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-387-5437 (KIDS) to get help if you, or children you know, are being neglected, emotionally or physically abused or sexually exploited. If you believe a child is at risk, you must report it. Help is available in multiple languages 24/7.
Individuals and families can access emergency shelters and temporary housing when they face family violence or homelessness. Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger. There are three types of accommodation you can access when leaving a violent or abusive situation:
- Women’s emergency shelters: a safe location where women and children can get help and connect with supports
- Women’s second stage housing: short-term, affordable housing with help for women and children to permanently leave and start a new life
- Seniors’ emergency shelters: a temporary place for older adults to stay and get supports
If you need a place for pets to stay when leaving an abusive situation, there are pet safekeeping programs that offer temporary pet care at no charge. Find the nearest program through the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
WHAT ARE WE WORRIED ABOUT?
- Overloading the health system (84%)
In a Stats Canada online survey, the vast majority of respondents aged 15 and older indicated they were extremely anxious about COVID-19 overloading the health care system.
54% of these respondents were equally worried about the health of a household member; 36% were worried about their own health; and 32% expressed concerns over family stress due to confinement.