Addictions and Mental Health Ontario has compiled a list of resources, including AMHO Snapshots, to help you stay informed and up to date on healthcare developments with COVID-19.
Due to COVID-19, AMHO’s physical office remains closed at this time but all staff members are working remotely and actively continue to support our membership. For a list of staff contacts, please click here.
Last updated January 18, 2021.
COVID-19 Snapshot: Coping with Mental Health and Addiction Issues
As a result of the impacts of social isolation, loss of loved ones and economic downturn, experts predict a swell of mental health and addiction challenges. Canadians with mental illness or addiction may be among the hardest hit.
During physical distancing, supporting persons dealing with mental health and addiction issues can be difficult. In person services are more limited and service providers will rely on telephone or email to communicate with their clients. Helping clients maintain their resilience can be challenging as they deal with the threat of COVID-19, increased social isolation and changes to their routines and relationships. We must be fully mindful of how this crisis is amplifying the challenges and disadvantages faced by people living on the margins of society.
COVID-19 Snapshot: Self-care for Staff in the Addiction and Mental Health Sector
Self-care during a pandemic is new for most of us. Our work may have changed significantly; some of us may be working from home, others may be working in our usual location but without our colleagues, some may have experienced lay offs, and others may be in crisis mode in a hospital. Our clients’ needs during the pandemic may be difficult to meet. All of these changes create stress and our usual sources of support, such as our colleagues, may not be present as before.
The stress may initially be hidden as we prioritize the needs of others over our own needs. In our work, we often go beyond the call of duty. Maintaining the balance between our own well-being, the needs of our clients and the needs of our family and friends is an additional stressor.
To help support staff in the mental health and addiction sector, this Snapshot is devoted to self-care resources.
General COVID-19 Resources
- Ministry of Health COVID-19 updates
- Interactive self-assessment tool for COVID-19
- Ministry of Health guidance for health professionals
- Public Health Ontario COVID-19 health care resources
- Public Health Ontario COVID-19 Resources for Congregate Living Settings
- Resources for Ontarians Experiencing Mental Health and Addictions Issues During the Pandemic
- Get support if you are a healthcare worker
- Health Canada COVID-19 updates
- Health Canada guidance for health professionals
- Health Canada guidance for providers of services for people experiencing homelessness
- Health Canada risk assessment
The federal government has launched an online tool to help navigate available government benefits. By answering a series of simple questions, the tool will generate an array of programs for which people may be eligible. Check out Canada.ca/coronavirusbenefits to get started.
National Guidance documents from the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM)
CRISM is completing a series of six national guidance documents to address the urgent needs of people who use substances, service providers, and decision makers in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CRISM/COVID‑19 guidance documents cover the following topics:
- Supporting People Who Use Substances in Shelter Settings During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Telemedicine Support for Addiction Services
- Strategies to reduce SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Supportive Recovery Programs and Residential Addiction Treatment Services
- Supporting People Who Use Substance in Acute Care Settings
- Medications and Other Clinical Approaches to Support Physical Distancing
- Harm reduction worker safety during the COVID-19 global pandemic
Completed documents may be accessed at: https://crism.ca/projects/covid/.
COVID-19 Help for Seniors, People with Disabilities
Are you in contact with an isolated, low-income senior or person with disabilities who needs help getting essentials to stay home safely during COVID-19? There is help available.
Ontario Community Support is coordinating delivery of meals, groceries, medicine and other essentials through local community service organizations to help isolated, low-income seniors and people with disabilities stay at home. Find out more at www.ontariocommunitysupport.ca.
COVID-19 Sheds Light on New Possibilities in Online Therapy and Counselling
AMHO is pleased to sponsor a student capstone project to evaluate the benefits and limitations of online therapy vs. in-person therapy as experienced during COVID-19. The project aims to determine how online therapy might be integrated into treatment practices post COVID-19. This project was completed by Sandra Palmaro, M.A., ICD.D. as part of a master’s degree in Global Leadership at Royal Roads University.
The arrival of COVID-19 in Canada in early 2020 forced the majority of addiction and mental health therapists and counsellors to deliver services online. This research project aimed to determine for whom and in what circumstances online therapy and counselling is most likely to be effective and where it is least likely to be effective. Research included 17 telephone interviews with therapists, counsellors and organization leaders and one focus group of organization leaders and built upon an extensive review of existing literature. It is hoped that these findings and recommendations will help to inform integration of online modalities post COVID-19. The full report is available to read here along with a one-page summary.