COVID-19: Mental Health

Please Note: The Thunder Bay District Health Unit supports mental health in a variety of ways across our programs. We do not, however, provide acute crisis or mental health services or counselling.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis:

  • Call 911
  • Visit your nearest emergency department
  • Call Crisis Response (mobile unit suspended): (807) 346-8282 (Thunder Bay) or 1-888-269-3100 (Thunder Bay District)

To find out where you can access counselling support and treatment for mental health concerns during COVID-19:

 

Mental Health after the First Wave

With the ‘First Wave’ of COVID-19 ending in Northwestern Ontario, it is a good time to reflect on how the pandemic has affected our mental health over the last few months. Overall, there have been many pandemic-related considerations that have made it difficult to cope since COVID-19 arrived in Ontario. Here is another reminder that your feelings and experiences are valid. 

Just Feeling OVER IT

At this point, many of us can agree that 2020 has not gone as planned. With many cancelled vacations and events and changes in our work, home, and social lives, it is normal to feel completely over COVID-19. 

Know that any feelings of anger, resentment, burnout, or anything to that effect are completely valid and it is important to acknowledge those feelings and allow yourself to work through them.

If you feel that they are becoming overwhelming and affecting your mental health, it is encouraged to move through some steps to help make it more manageable:

  • Make time to vent in a way that works for you, like by writing letters or talking to a trusted friend.
  • Do some physical activity to manage excess energy.
  • Practice calming activities like yoga, meditation or mindfulness.

It is important to acknowledge that anger is a normal and universal human emotion, especially during a pandemic. 

Stigma and Shaming

With COVID-19 restrictions loosening it is important to remember that everyone will exit their lockdown differently. People may have many things to consider before doing any particular activity, such as their own or their family’s personal health status, as well as their feelings of safety re-entering the community.

On the other hand, many folks may be very excited for loosened restrictions and you may see more people out and about doing things that they either need or want to do.

Either way, there is no ‘right’ way to come out of isolation. It is instead encouraged to "Go Out Smart" and prevent further spread.

Fear of a Second Wave

Many of us feel some uncertainty and loss of control. It is understandable to feel overwhelmed and uncertain at this time. Not long ago, most people were self-isolating and making only essential trips outside to the grocery store. Now our favourite places are opening and it may feel counterintuitive. 

  • Know that there is still a risk, but it is significantly less – also remember that as hard as it may be, focus on actions that you CAN control. 
  • You can make sure that you can control your own actions, continue to physical distance, and stay safe as your best opportunity to control your situation. 

Financial Stress from COVID-19

Financial losses due to COVID-19 can be overwhelming. With closing of businesses, job layoffs, and confusing requirements for relief benefits, it can be hard to know what to do. Know that you are not alone and so Thunder Bay Counselling is now offering a new service to help. Free financial counselling is now available and can help you understand and navigate COVID-19 supports, loans, and other options.

For more information, visit tbaycounselling.com or call (807) 684-1880 to speak to a financial counsellor.

 

Mental Health for the General Public

If you are experiencing mental health concerns during COVID-19, you are encouraged to seek out support. There are counselling services in Thunder Bay and the District, both online and over the phone.

Visit our Mental Health Support resources for a list of supports and services offered. Also call 211 or visit 211north.ca to see if and how services are running.

Managing Personal Mental Health

 

Mental Health for Children

It is common for children and youth to feel anxious, panicked or fearful during a pandemic, especially if they are exposed to news streams and mainstream media.

Keep a sense of structure.

  • Try to keep a sense of structure and routine at home as much as you are able to make things feel like normal for children.
  • Daily structures and routines can help children cope with anxiety when their regular routines have been disturbed due to COVID-19.

Check in on the mental health of children.

  • Overall, this can be a scary time, especially for children.
  • Keep an eye on children and take note if they start acting differently, becoming fearful or withdrawing.
  • Ask them about how they are feeling and if they want to talk. Don’t dismiss their fear. Support them the best that you can.

For available resources and services for children’s mental health, check out the Mental Health Support page.  The Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board also has a Parent and School Pandemic Response Information Sheet on quick access, no cost community mental health services.

 

Additional Resources

For more information about workplace mental health during COVID-19, please visit the COVID-19 and the Workplace page under Promoting and Protecting Mental Health in the Workplace.

Last Updated: 11/08/2020