Strengthening Mental Health and Wellness During COVID-19

Recognizing the heightened pressures being confronted by Ontario's health care workers and other critical support staff working in the province's hospitals, the OHA has put together a number of easily accessible mental health resources from various leading sources (international, national and provincial), such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S, as well as a number of resources from Ontario hospitals.  

These are only some examples of available resources. Members can send additional suggestions for posting to

Ontario Resources 


AbilitiCBT is an internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) program developed to address anxiety and depression related to the pandemic, as well as general anxiety and depression. Morneau Shepell has partnered with the Government of Ontario to provide the AlibitiCBT program for free to Ontarians aged 16 and over.

Big White Wall  

This is a free, peer-to-peer community offering a proven way to get better together through anonymous conversation. It is based out of the UK and supported by Ontario's Ministry of Health. Discussions are moderated 24/7 by trained practitioners and no referral is needed to participate. Find out more. 


The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health offers information and suggestions about how best to cope during this difficult time on their COVID-19 Resource Page.

CAMH also developed ECHO Coping with COVID, designed for Hospital-Based Healthcare Providers and Residents responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants are invited to join ECHO sessions virtually through multi-point videoconference technology to share and learn about ways to build resilience and overall wellness through didactic lectures and case-based discussions.

CAMH also launched a new hub that will house a growing list of evidence-based resources for health care workers and other front line responders to manage their own mental health, and support their patients and families at this time. Visit the health care worker hub or visit The site will be updated often as new resources are developed. 

A self-referral for healthcare workers can be found here*. CAMH is providing access to mental health and addiction supports for health care workers who might be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These supports will include access to resources, psychotherapy and psychiatric services.


CMHA Waterloo-Wellington chapter created a mental health service website for healthcare workers. It provides free, immediate mental health care for HCW and was created in partnership with other support services.

CMHA Ontario and Mental Health Works are supporting Ontario's healthcare workers and professionals through a series of webinars on mental wellness addressed specifically to the health care setting. Occurring weekly, the webinars will explore topics relevant to both hospitals and clinics, as well as telehealth professionals and those who work to support patient outcomes such as custodial staff, security professionals, and administrators.

CMHA also developed Online Resources for Social Connection and Mental Wellness During COVID-19 which includes apps to help with increasing social connection, apps to help with mental wellness and more online resources for mental health and addictions help. It also includes tips for managing your mental health during COVID and for supporting a loved one.

Bounce Back Ontario is a free skill-building program managed by CMHA. It is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos, it offers access to tools that will support individuals on ther path to mental wellness. It was launched in Ontario in 2017 and is funded by the Ontario governement. One of the resources offered is the COVID sheet: 10 things you can do right now to reduce anxiety, stress, worry related to COVID-19.

CMHA Ontario, Mental Health Works and Bounce Back Ontario have released Return to the workplace: A psychological toolkit for heading back to work. It is a guide to support the mental health of individuals as they plan safe transitions back into their workplaces and to help employers as they develop policies and procedures for supporting staff returning to the workplace.

The CMHA Ontario has also created a COVID-19 crisis resource guide. The guide lists resources and organizations available to Ontarians. Resources include national and provincial mental health supports, COVID-19 resources and resources for online mental health and social connection.  is a non-profit initiative of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) dedicated to improving the mental health of children, youth and families. It provides anonymous, confidential and trustworthy information, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Features include:  

  • Mental Health Help (i.e. directory of mental health services and organizations)   
  • Info Sheets: Information about a variety of mental health conditions and topics. 
  • Screening Tools: Find out if you or a loved one has a mental health concern with our free, online screening tools. 
  • Events Calendar: Information about mental health events in your area.  
  • News Feed: Information about the latest mental health news.  
  • Research directory: Information about research studies in your area. 

Mood Disorders Association of Ontario

The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario is offering a new (January 2021) monthly front-line health care worker virtual peer support group being run at Hope and Me. This program helps health care workers meet and relate in a safe, peer-supported environment. Registration is done through their website here.  

Ontario Psychological Association

The Association recently shared a resource via social media specifically targeted at frontline providers during #COVID19. Developed by Dr. Mélanie Joanisse, the workbook is an easy-to-read written guide to wellness.

Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences

Health Care Worker Assist

Health Care Worker Assist* was created to support healthcare workers with increased anxiety and depression. Services offered include system navigation, crisis planning, psychoeducation, brief individual therapy, primary care phone consultation guidance and referral to Prompt Care Clinic for most high risk individuals. Referrals are accepted from individuals (self), health professionals, family physicians, nurse practitioners, or current psychiatrists, through the Central Intake department at 1-877-767-9642 (Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or centralized referral form


#MindVine is the social media home of Ontario Shores. It is a hangout which encourages conversations on the topics of mental health, mental illness and stigma. Recent posts have been related to supporting mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as:

COVID-19: Lessons from CBT on How We Look at the Pandemic

COVID-19: Why Building a Fort Can Improve Your Mental Health

Mt. Sinai and University of Toronto (UofT)

Dr. Robert Maunder and Dr. Jonathan Hunter, psychiatrists at Mount Sinai Hospital and professors at UofT Created a 7.5-minute youtube video on how to cope with COVID-19 for health care workers.

Ontario COVID-19 Mental Health Network

An emerging network of Ontario-based mental health professionals dedicated to supporting frontline COVID-19 workers through teletherapy. They are re doing this as a temporary measure during the crisis to help reduce friction, offer fast mental health support. Find out more.   

St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton

St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, has partnered with Ontario Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence to provide assessment and referrals to health or community care workers from across the province. Learn more*.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre"Your Health Matters"  

Sunnybrook has published a number of positive, brief articles related to COVID19 that include: 

The Royal

COVID Frontline Wellness* is a resource developed by The Royal to support healthcare workers with maintaining their mental wellbeing during COVID-19. The portal offers simple, fast access to supports and tools using an online form. Registrants will be contacted by a clinician to discuss their needs and connect them with appropriate supports. These may be services offered by The Royal or other community partners.

Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care

COVID Frontline Wellness* connects health care and frontline workers and first responders with supports and access to services to help them enhance resilience during these stressful times and help manage mental health challenges. This service is available by self-referral - simply complete the self-referral form at right and a clinician will contact you. This should only take about 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, call Waypoint's Central Intake at 705-549-3181, ext. 2308 or 1-877-341-4229, ext. 2308.

*Five hospitals in Ontario are partnering with the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence at Ontario Health to provide assessment and referrals to frontline health care workers from across the province. For more information on these different resources, please visit COVID-19: Get support if you are a health care worker.

National Resources 

Alberta Health Services: Text4Hope 

Alberta Health Services created Text4Hope, a free, supportive text messaging service. Subscribers receive a daily text message of support and encouragement to ease the stress and anxiety they may be feeling. These texts might remind subscribes to focus on positive thinking or suggest actions to help them manage their mood.   

Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)

The MHCC developed a worksheet to create a self-care and resilience plan that is quick, and easy-to-use. It also include mental health resources by province. Download it here.    

The MHCC also published an article, Choosing sources of information carefully is critical to COVID-19 mental well-being, that shares some important tips on supporting your mental well-being that include: 

  • Be selective about news sources  
  • Consider practical value of information  
  • Don't discount the power of language  
  • Set boundaries on news consumption   

Best Practices for Supporting the Mental Health of Healthcare Workers During Covid-19, is an intervew with a wellness specialist at Michael Garron Hospital available on the Mental Health Comission of Canada’s website.

Additional mental health resources for COVID-19 are available here.

Pause 4 Providers

A group of physicians have created an online open-access mindfulness program called "Pause 4 Providers" for health providers - in the context of the current stressful circumstances and challenges associated with working in healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pause 4 Providers supports the mental health and wellbeing of healthcare providers during the pandemic by providing nightly 30-minute drop-in mindfulness sessions.


Wellness Together Canada


Wellness Together Canada provides free online resources, tools, apps and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals when needed. Includes live telephonic, video and text counselling, information and resources, online, self-directed tools for mindfulness and internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT), as well as peer support and group counselling. A specific resource for health care workers is coming soon. 


International Resources 


CDC - Emergency Responders: Tips for taking care of yourself 


This resource shares important tips and links to other supports for first responders who often face challenging situations on a daily basis, such as witnessing human suffering, risk of personal harm, intense workloads, life-and-death decisions, and separation from family. Stress prevention and management is critical for responders to stay well and to continue to help in the situation. The CDC offers steps responders should take before, during, and after an event that include identifying and understanding burnout and secondary traumatic stress, developing a buddy system, self-care techniques and more. Click here to access this resource. offers video-based peer support groups around COVID-19. Interested individuals can sign up on their site to join a group which are facilitated by group leaders. Once signed-in, you can choose a topic you'd like to talk about. Click here to find out more. 

Institute for Healthcare Improvement

10 Quick Mindfulness Exercises for Coping with COVID-19 Stress and Anxiety, is an article that offers quick, easy mindfulness exercises that busy healthcare workers can implement daily.

Oji Life Lab

The Oji Life Lab team came together around a shared aspiration: to unlock the best learning - from academia and beyond - to make a big difference in peoples' lives. While emotional intelligence is core of what they do, it is just the first Life Lab. They are building a complete family of Life Labs that address the Universal Skills that are the foundation everything we do at work and in life, skills that are rarely discussed, let alone taught. A number of existing resources are included here.

Corona Care Toolkit: Download the free e-book, Coping with Corona, a hands-on guide that helps navigate the emotional challenges at work and at home. This resource page was developed wtih the help of co-founders of Oji Life Lab Mark Brackett, Ph.D., Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Robin Stern, Ph.D., Associate Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Oji Emotion Life Lab is a mobile-based learning program that helps improve emotional intelligence at work and at home. Developed with the co-founders who lead the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, the Emotion Life Lab includes 50 bite-sized multimedia learning steps combined with live video coaching sessions delivered right on your phone. The OHA has identified emotional intelligence as a fundamental leadership competency and is currently partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence for a joint research initiative.  To explore the Oji opportunity as a tool for your teams, please contact Camila Mize, Director of Customer Success at OHA has negotiated a preferred rate with Oji for OHA hospital members.

You can also learn more about Everyday Mindfulness Micro-Practices and Developing Your Emotional Intelligence: Recognition and Regulation Strategies.


This website is a compilation of accessible—mostly free or low-cost, and inclusive resources to help cope and support mental wellness through COVID-19 (and beyond). This project started out as a small crowd-sourced Google Doc that has since grown and been shared through various networks. It is now in its next evolution as a website to help create a better and easier way to search for more relevant resources, and to expand to other locations.

The British Psychological Society

The BPS published The psychological needs of healthcare staff as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic,  a guide for leaders and managers of healthcare services who will need to consider the wellbeing needs of all healthcare staff (clinical and non-clinical) as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. It offers practical recommendations for how to respond at individual, management and organisational level involving the appropriate utilisation of expertise within their practitioner psychologist and mental health professionals and anticipates the psychological reactions over time, and what people may need to recovery psychologically from this.

The King's Fund

The King's Fund has created a rapid guidance document for leaders who are developing psychological supports for staff.

The Pandemic Kindness Movement

The Pandemic Kindness Movement was created by clinicians across Australia who are working together to support all health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have curated respected, evidence-informed resources and links to valuable services to support the wellbeing of the health workforce.

WHO- Mental Health Considerations During COVID-19 

The World Health Organization provides considerations to support the mental and psychological well-being of the general population, health care workers, team leaders or managers in health facilities, caretakers of children, caretakers of older adults, people in isolation. Click here to access this resource. 

"Basic Psychosocial Skills: A Guide to COVID-19 Responders" offers those responding to COVID-19 information on how to integrate psychosocial skills into their work in order to improve the well-being of people they are supporting during the pandemic. The guide is intended for health and social workers, emergency responders; people working in food stores, public transport, funeral parlours and pharmacies; employers and managers; and people who are providing support to vulnerable family members or members of their community.