(Toronto, Dec. 21, 2020) – The following is a statement from Camille Quenneville, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division, in response to the provincial government’s announcement today regarding additional COVID-19 public health measures:
“The province made the right decision today to take the extraordinary measure of tightening public health restrictions to protect our physical health. But, we know in doing so, the mental health of Ontarians will be impacted, particularly at this special time of year.
“We know the impact of this pandemic on the mental health of Ontarians has been profound, and further measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 may increase isolation and loneliness for many, which could worsen stress, worry, or symptoms of depression and anxiety.
“We want Ontarians to know CMHAs around the province are here for you. We’ve been innovative from the very beginning of this pandemic, shifting program delivery to virtual where possible. And where in-person service is necessary, our front-line workers have implemented protocols to do so safely.
“Front-line staff at CMHA branches have been stretched beyond capacity in recent months, so we must again thank the Ontario government for recognizing a need for emergency support and making a $147 million investment in mental health and addictions services last week. This additional funding will help alleviate some capacity pressures for our sector, which is much-needed given we are in for a long haul yet with COVID-19.
“I also want to thank our colleagues at the Ontario Hospital Association for their efforts in raising legitimate concerns about the increase in numbers and the need for further lockdown measures. President & CEO Anthony Dale and his team have been leading the charge to protect the health of Ontarians and ensure the voices of those on the front lines are heard.
“If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health at this time, we encourage you to contact CMHA’s BounceBack program. BounceBack is a free skill-building program designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos, it provides tools that will support your mental wellness.
“CMHA Ontario has also released a series of holiday tips with simple things anyone can do to support their mental health through the holiday season. Check out our guides on fighting social isolation, holiday survival tips, physical activity and self-care at ontario.cmha.ca. We will get through this together.”
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health. Our 28 local CMHA branches, together with community-based mental health and addictions service providers across the province, serve approximately 500,000 Ontarians each year.
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