Mental Health Coping
The COVID-19 pandemic can have a significant impact on Albertans' mental health. Resources are available if you, or someone you know, is struggling or needs a little extra support.
- Take care of your body – Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Learn more about wellness strategies for mental health.
- Connect with others (virtually) – Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member.
- To that end, we encourage you to look out for those around you and check in on someone if you notice significant attitude or behavioural shifts. If you do see significant change and are worried, please head to Be There to learn how to start a conversation and support them through their struggles.
- Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system.
- Take breaks– Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.
- Stay informed – When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
- Avoid too much exposure to news – Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.
- Seek help when needed – If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, or doctor, or contact the Mental Health Help Line.
- The Mental Health Help Line is available 24/7 to provide advice and referrals to community supports near you. Call: 1-877-303-2642
- Kids Help Phone provides a counsellor 24/7. Kids Help Phone is always there for kids and youth. No matter what you want to talk about, we’re here to listen. No judgment, totally private. Call: 1-800-668-6868
- Help in Tough Times provides a wide array of services, contacts and topics related to helping self and others through tough times.
Managing Anxiety, Stress & Other Challenges
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. It is important to monitor the effects of cumulative stress on caregivers such as: office staff, teachers, school counselors and other crisis team members.Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Building structure into your new routine, keeping in contact with friends and loved ones, getting proper rest and taking time out to recenter yourself cannot only help maintain your mental health and overall well-being, but may also you allow you to flourish.
The following link provides an excellent connection to many topics that could come up under the topic of, “Managing Anxiety and Stress.” The link to the main document is here: Managing Anxiety and Stress. While listed below you will find a few of the embedded links that are also found in the main document:
- Taking Care of Your Emotional Health
- Practical guide on Talking to Children about Coronavirus.
- Helping Children Cope with Emergencies
- Coping with Stress During an Infectious Disease Outbreak
- Ways to Manage Stress
- Emergency Responders: Tips for taking care of yourself
- COVID-19: A Message from the National Center for School Mental Health
- Dr. Jud Brewer (MD PhD): Anxiety Specialist - 5 minute videos in which he shares brain-based strategies to assist with mental health.
- Free Meditation practices offered by Calm
- NASP: Preparing for Infectious Disease Epidemics: Brief Tips for School Mental Health Professionals
- ADDitude – Inside the ADHD mind: How to Explain Coronavirus to a Child with Anxiety – Expert Tips
- Psychology Today: How to Explain Coronavirus to a Child with Autism
- American Psychological Association: Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus with a Podcast
- ACE’s Connection: Resilience During a Pandemic
Counselling Supports and Services
Students: Students may contact their school based counsellor via email or through another method that the school has decided to use.. We have asked that all school based counsellors remain available and, if appropriate, our school based counsellors may continue to support students over the phone, or they may make referrals for students to access partner supports. Pathway Through Care consultations are available to Learning Support Teams in every school. This Pathway Through Care will allow school staff to make good referrals to outside partner supports.
Students and their families may also reach out to their Community Liaison Worker if they are previously connected. We have asked that all CLW’s remain available and, if appropriate, our CLW’s may continue to support students and their families over the phone, or they may make referrals for students to access partner support. Pathway Through Care consultations are available to CLW’s in every school. This Pathway Through Care will allow school staff to make good referrals to outside partner supports.
Staying Physically & Intellectually Active Amid COVID-19
The benefits of physical activity which have always been known to us are still valid at this time. That said, we must all work on finding ways to take care of our daily requirements for physical activity mindfully. Here are a few tips.
- Go outside. If you’re physically able to get outdoors and if you stay six feet away from other people on the street or in the park, by all means, do it. Walk. Run. Skip. Cross-country ski. Ride. Whatever. Breathe fresh air. Catch a few rays. Wave to the others from that respectful distance away.
- Work out inside your home. Try to get your heart rate up enough that you can talk but not sing. If you’re watching TV, stand up to watch. Pick up your cell and pace around while you’re chatting. If you live in an apartment building, walk or jog in the hallways provided you keep away from other hall-walkers. If you have no hallways, put on some music and dance. If nothing else, practice balancing on one foot while you wash the dishes.
- Keep going. Do yoga on the floor. Swing your arms. Do sit ups. Use books or jugs of water as weights to pump iron. Body weight exercises are very beneficial. You do not need fancy equipment to stay fit. There are many online fitness options that folks may follow.
- Avoid staying glued to the computer or TV all day. It may be tempting to become sedentary, but get up at least once an hour and walk around.
- If you do catch the coronavirus and especially if you have a fever, take it easy. But otherwise, get up and move. Your body will thank you. So will your mind.
- Physical Activity for Children and Youth
- ParticipACTION Everything Gets Better
- ParticipACTION app - From custom indoor workout videos, to tips to get active in your own backyard to a dedicated At-Home Activity content stream in the free ParticipACTION app, including loads of fun ways to help you break up sedentary behaviour.
- Check out the ParticipACTION latest blog for 3 ways you can boost your physical and mental health with outdoor activity...and more!
- ParticipACTION invites you to join them on Facebook every weekday at 12 p.m. EST starting this Friday, March 27 to get active with our Live Fit Breaks.
- ParticipACTION: Build your best day!
- Games & Activities Resource from Twitterverse
- Fitness Blender Free Video Workouts
- Yoga with Adriene - 10 - 15 minute practices
- Workout Your Life - Playlist
- Popsugar Fitness Videos
- Self-care Bingo card (as an example) and this website called Bingo Baker to build your own.
- Yoga for kids - Cosmic Kids Yoga via Youtube