In response to COVID-19, CMHA services get creative to connect
Vancouver, March 23, 2020 – As British Columbians face an unprecedented health crisis due to COVID-19, the Canadian Mental Health Association is responding to support their mental health. “This situation is unprecedented and we recognize that COVID-19 is having and will have impacts upon people’s mental health,” said Jonny Morris, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division. “Social connection and belonging are core to good mental health. We are hearing from more people who are worried, anxious and scared. That’s why we are working hard to shift as many of our services to phone and online,” said Morris.
CMHA across the province is receiving increased calls for support, even while most offices are closed and in-person groups are put on hold. Here is a sample of how CMHA Branches are responding –
- In Quesnel, low-cost counselling is being offered by phone instead of in-person;
- In Vernon, the mental health clubhouse is doing a daily phone check-in with their members and shifted a planned Teen Night to a virtual event;
- In Kelowna, both peer support and Discovery College programs are going online;
- In Penticton and the Kootenays, meal programs have switched to take-out bag lunches;
- In Vancouver, transitional housing, youth supported independent living, community living support, employment support and the Echo clubhouse have added COVID-19 screening on site;
- In Victoria, CMHA’s employment program sent a personal video message of reassurance to clients;
CMHA’s BC Division office continues to work hard expanding supports to British Columbians online and by phone.
The CMHA and BC Partners Mental Health Information and Referral services continue as always by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a message at 1-800-555-8222. For more information about local and provincial services, visit www.staging.cmha-bc.flywheelsites.com.
Photo submitted: Zoe at CMHA Vernon on a daily phone check-in with a mental health clubhouse participant (Photo credit CMHA Vernon)
CMHA is BC’s leading mental health non-profit with 14 branches across the province. We promote everyone’s right to their best possible mental health, and support the resilience and recovery of people living with mental illness and substance use disorder.