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Adapting to COVID-19 and the Provision of Virtual Mental Health Services


The World Health Organization (WHO) and public health authorities around the world are taking action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Dalton Associates is proud to join the nation in the proactive response to COVID-19 by offering confidential, secure and easily accessible virtual mental health services. Use your phone, tablet or home computer to reach out and address some of the stress that comes with living in a world that is in the midst of surviving a pandemic.

Our technology allows for the opportunity to receive essential services while still practicing physical social distancing. While it is still relatively safe to attend counselling sessions in-person in Ontario, our secure distance counselling platform allows us to continue offering mental health support in the event it becomes necessary to distance ourselves physically.

The WHO has developed several mental health considerations as support for mental and psychological well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak:

General population tips (Provided by the WHO)

1. COVID-19 has and is likely to affect people from many countries, in many geographical locations. Don’t attach it to any ethnicity or nationality. Be empathetic to those who got affected, in and from any country, those with the disease have not done anything wrong.

2. Don’t refer to people with the disease as “COVID-19 cases”, “victims” “COVID-19 families”, or the “diseased”. They are “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID-19”, “people who are recovering from COVID-19” and, after recovering from COVID- 19 their life will go on with their jobs, families and loved ones.

3. Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that cause you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information for the purposes of taking practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Seek information updates at specific times during the day once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts. Gather information at regular intervals, from WHO website and local health authorities platforms, in order to help you distinguish facts from rumors.

4. Protect yourself and be supportive to others. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper.

5. Find opportunities to amplify the voices, positive stories and positive images of local people who have experienced the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and have recovered or who have supported a loved one through recovery and are willing to share their experience.

6. Honor caretakers and healthcare workers supporting people affected with COVID-19 in your community. Acknowledge the role they play to save lives and keep your loved ones safe.

Source: World Health Organization. (2020, March 6). Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak.

Retrieved from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronavirusemental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2

For caretakers of children (Provided by the WHO)

1. Help children find positive ways to express disturbing feelings, such as fear and sadness. Every child has his/her own way to express emotions. Sometimes engaging in a creative activity, such as playing, and drawing, can facilitate this process. Children feel relieved if they can express and communicate their disturbing feelings in a safe and supportive environment.

2. Keep children close to their parents and family, if considered safe for the child, and avoid separating children and their caregivers as much as possible. If a child needs to be separated from his/her primary caregiver, ensure that appropriate alternative care is and that a social worker, or equivalent, will regularly follow up on the child. Further, ensure that during periods of separation, regular contact with parents and caregivers is maintained, such as twice-daily scheduled phone or video calls or other age-appropriate communication (e.g., social media depending on the age of the child).

3. Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible, especially if children are confined to home. Provide engaging age appropriate activities for children. As much as possible, encourage children to continue to play and socialize with others, even if only within the family when advised to restrict social contract.

4. During times of stress and crisis, it is common for children to seek more attachment and be more demanding on parents Discuss COVID-19 with your children in honest and age-appropriate ways. If your children have concerns, addressing those together may ease their anxiety. Children will observe adults’ behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own emotions during difficult times.

Source: World Health Organization. (2020, March 6). Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak.

Retrieved from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronavirusemental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2

For caretakers of older adults (Provided by the WHO)

1. Older adults, especially those in isolation and those who have cognitive decline/dementia, may become more anxious, angry, stressed, agitated, and withdrawn during the outbreak/while in quarantine. Provide practical and emotional support through informal networks (families) and health professionals.

2. Share simple facts about what is going on and give clear information about how to reduce risk of infection in words older people with/without cognitive impairment can understand. Repeat the information whenever necessary. Instructions need to be communicated in a clear, concise, respectful and patient way. And it may also be helpful for information to be displayed in writing or pictures. Engage their family and other support networks in providing information and helping them practice prevention measures (e.g. handwashing etc.)

3. Encourage older adults with expertise, experiences and strengths to volunteer in community efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, the well/healthy retired older population can provide peer support, neighbour checking, and childcare for medical personnel restricted in hospitals fighting against COVID-19.

 

Source: World Health Organization. (2020, March 6). Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak.

Retrieved from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronavirusemental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2

People in isolation (Provided by the WHO)

1. Stay connected and maintain your social networks. Even in situations of isolations, try as much as possible to keep your personal daily routines. If health authorities have recommended limiting your physical social contact to contain the outbreak, you can stay connected via e-mail, social media, video conference and telephone.

2. During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective. Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected.

3. A near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Seek information updates and practical guidance at specific times during the day from health professionals and WHO website and avoid listening to or following rumors that make you feel uncomfortable.

 

Source: World Health Organization. (2020, March 6). Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak.

Retrieved from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronavirusemental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2

Stay Informed

Latest information from the Ontario Ministry of Health:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus


Latest information from the Public Health Agency of Canada:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/symptoms.html




Our Virtual Counselling Services

Dalton Associates offers clients the option to have counselling sessions over the telephone or via secure online video conferencing. Both options are compliant with Ontario’s Privacy Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and offer clients an accessible option in the following cases:

  • You have been told to stay at home and self-isolate or self-quarantine
  • You are staying at home as a precaution
  • There are no appropriate counsellors available in your geographic area (e.g., language, culture, professional competencies, etc.)
  • You have physical or other challenges that prevent you from leaving your home
  • You are more comfortable using technology to communicate
  • Scheduling conflicts prohibit regular office visits

While we acknowledge the benefits of distance counselling, we recognize that it has limitations and may not be right for every situation. We have intake specialists that will screen clients to determine the appropriate level of care that you need and that it is suitable for distance counselling.

Call us today at 1-888-245-5516 to register for distance counselling.


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Sources

World Health Organization. (2020, March 6). Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19
Outbreak. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronavirusemental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2