A message from Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care:
COVID-19 has changed our lives and health care workers, care providers and first responders are being called to new levels of service in these unprecedented times.
The reality of being at the front-lines of COVID-19 puts health care, residential care and emergency services workers at risk of developing increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, and anyone with pre-existing mental health conditions is at even higher risk of worsening symptoms. In response Waypoint has launched COVID Frontline Wellness in collaboration with Ontario’s new Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence at Ontario Health and other provincial partners who have also launched similar programs for frontline workers impacted by stress related to COVID-19.
“We need those who are caring for us to be both physically and mentally healthy and we are pleased to offer a new direct service where you can talk with someone about your concerns and needs,” said Waypoint President and CEO Carol Lambie. “Our COVID Frontline Wellness program for health care and frontline workers offers supports to enhance resilience, and care and treatment for mental health and addiction challenges.”
The province announced the collaborative efforts during Mental Health Week. All of the services, including Waypoint’s, are confidential, free and allow people to self-refer to a virtual clinic – making access fast and easy. Those in need are able to speak with a Waypoint clinician as a first start to understanding what services are available and developing a flexible plan of support. The program includes partnerships with the province for on-line anxiety and depression treatment such as Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy (CBT), access to free counselling under the Mindability Program to work directly with a clinician as well as a variety of other resources and tools for psychological health and wellness.
Frontline workers and first responders are used to working in critical situations. However, the unprecedented reality of the COVID-19 pandemic may be causing strain from long hours in a critical care environment, wearing personal protective equipment and many other types of on-going change. Other challenges include physical isolation and concern about contracting COVID and bringing the virus home to families.
“This is care for our frontline workers and first responders when they need it most and we hope you will reach out for help if you need it,” said Lambie. “During you session with a therapist you will offered a comprehensive assessment of needs, brief therapy intervention and discussion about other options for symptom management and support.”