Mental Health Commission launches free mental health tools for essential workers

mental health

OTTAWA — The Mental Health Commission of Canada is offering free online mental health programs to essential workers struggling with the emotional and psychological strain of COVID-19.

Commission president and CEO Louise Bradley says the digital tools will be able to train up to 500 people a week on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems.

She notes that front-line workers risk their physical health every time they show up for duty and that undoubtedly takes a toll on their mental health.

Two programs each cover tips on how to understand, assess and improve mental health as an individual and as part of a group. A third program focuses on how to talk about mental health with family, friends and/or colleagues.

The programs are focused on front-line workers, but commission adviser and University of Calgary psychology professor Keith Dobson expects its impact to “ripple through the community” by helping participants recognize challenges in those around them.

The programs are available on the Mental Health Commission of Canada website on a first-come, first-served basis.

“This is something that has taken a toll on each and every one of us in terms of our own mental health. There’s virtually nobody who has not been impacted by this,” Bradley said Tuesday as the programs were launched.

Dobson adds that “time is of the essence,” noting that many people are struggling now.

“We know that as this pandemic continues — and it does appear that it will continue for some time — that people’s needs are going to increase, if anything, and so the available free immediately available online resources is critical.”