Haliburton Highlands Health Services shares the many services available to support mental health during the pandemic.

As news of COVID-19 continues to circulate, President and CEO Carolyn Plummer says it’s natural to experience periods of stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, frustration, helplessness, isolation, difficulty concentrating and insomnia. She says people can also experience physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, upset stomach or low energy.

Many service providers now have virtual access to mental health supports, and the Canadian government offers the Wellness Together Canada portal online.

HHHS understands that there are people in the community who are unable to reliably access the virtual services, and funding from the United Way will be used to enhance access to reliable internet for vulnerable members of the community.

Many service providers have introduced virtual access to mental health supports, including counselling and treatment.

For a list of local service providers and their contact information, visit haliburtoncares.ca or call the HHHS – Community Support Services Response Team by phone 705-457-2941 or by text at 705-457-0016 (Monday to Friday, from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM), or by email at [email protected] anytime.

Other online mental health supports include the Wellness Together Canada portal from the Government of Canada, which provides tools and resources for mental health and substance use supports (wellnesstogether.ca), and Big White Wall, an online peer-to-peer support community for your mental health (bigwhitewall.ca).

Health care workers can also access a set of mental health supports and resources from CAMH (camh.ca/covid19HCW), as well as the Health Care Worker Assist service from Ontario Shores to provide virtual care for those workers who may be at risk of developing increased symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Health care workers can access this service by visiting ontarioshores.ca/hcwassist.

We know that there are people in our community who are unable to reliably access the virtual services mentioned in this update.

This past week, the HHHS Foundation was the recipient of first-round funding from the United Way City of Kawartha Lakes – Emergency Community Support Fund.

This funding will be used by HHHS and community partners to enhance access to virtual mental health services for vulnerable members of our community, so that more people can benefit from these important supports.