Mental Wellness Support

COVID-19: Managing & Coping with Stress

Stress and Coping

It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief and worry during and after an emergency, crisis and disaster. Everyone acts differently, and your own feelings will change over time. Notice and accept how you feel. Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to urgent needs to protect yourself and your family. Self-care during an emergency will help long-term healing.

Take the following steps to cope:

  • Take care of your body – try to eat healthy and well balanced meals, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
  • Connect with others – share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system. Please note: Limit or avoid face-to-face contact, but if you do, use social distancing practices. Stay connected using cellphones, facetime, skype and social media.
  • Take breaks – make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.
  • Stay informed – when you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read news updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumours during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
  • Avoid too much exposure to the news – take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. Including social media. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities.

Reduce stress in yourself and others

  • Share the facts – this can reduce your stress and help others to feel less stressed. It also creates connection.

Are you in crisis?

If you are experiencing a mental health or addictions related crisis:

Contact your Health Provider


(PDF) COVID-19: Managing & Coping with Stress

6 Ways to Keep Your Anxiety from Taking Over

These are times when there is a lot of uncertainty and change. It is natural to feel anxious about COVID-19 and worried about what the
future holds. However, it is important to respond to your anxiety and stop it from overwhelming you:

Create Structure: Build structure in your day and establish a routine. Having activities and plans to focus on will reduce anxious thoughts. Plan meals for specific times and keep a healthy sleeping routine.

Manage Environment: If your environment is out of control, you will feel out of control. When your environment feels tidy and organized you will feel more positive and prepared.

Do not forget about Self-Care: Building in self-care such as exercise, meditation, laughing, getting fresh air, and alone time. Even a 10-minute walk or making yourself a cup of coffee can calm your nerves. Drink lots of water and eat nutritiously.

Pep talks: You can give these to yourself. or you can reach out to a trusted confidant. The key is to find positive perspectives to reach past your anxiety. Positive self talk and encouragement can help keep us moving forward.

Label your anxiety: Sometimes noting what makes you anxious and acknowledging it can help calm you. When we identify out emotions we can accept them and remind ourselves anxiety is normal during stressful times.

Remembering you’re not alone: Think about friends and family and what you can do to help or support them. As well, ask for assistance and support that you may also need.

(PDF) 6 ways to keep your anxiety from taking over


Free Apps to Help with Anxiety

Well Mind
– for dealing with stress, anxiety and depression; with relaxation games, advice and podcasts


Youper – talk, track, meditate – created by clinical experts and aims to help you understand yourself, improve behaviour and relationship


Self-Help for Anxiety Management
– create an anxiety toolkit


Clear Fear – anxiety management and support network creator to help you when anxiety hits

Cultural Support

Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig Health Access Centre

Cultural Coordinators are available by calling:
1-888-MYWNHAC (699-6422)


Support for Caregivers

Helpline during Social Distancing and Social Isolation
Ontario Caregivers Helpline: 1-833-416-2273

Online Caregiver Support
For more information and to register go to:

Helplines for Children, Youth & Adults

Needing Help?  Need someone to talk with? Here are some resources available via PHONE OR INTERNET for Children, Youth and Adults

Ontario Distress Centres |
Free, confidential support and information. Visit the website for a phone contact in your area. Hours of operation vary, but most answer calls around the clock.

Talk 4 Healing | | Distress (Crisis) Line 1-855-554-4325
Talk 4 Healing is a culturally grounded, fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women available in 14 languages all across Ontario.

Disaster Distress Helpline | | 1-800-985-5590
The Disaster Distress Helpline, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.

National Domestic Violence Hotline | | 1-800-799-7233 and/or TTY 1-800-787-3224
Operating around the clock, seven days a week, confidential and free of cost, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse.

If this is not a crisis, you can find services close to home by searching the Ontario Health Care Options directory.


Aboriginal Resources

Honouring Life Network – Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Resources |
A website produced by the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) to provide “culturally relevant information and resources on suicide prevention to help Aboriginal youth and youth workers dealing with a problem that has reached crisis proportions in some First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities in Canada.”

Za-geh-do-win Information Clearinghouse | | 1-705-692-0420
Za-geh-do-win Information Clearinghouse “researches, collects, catalogues, and distributes culturally relevant resources” for aboriginal communities across Ontario. Includes The Key – Aboriginal Mental Health Services/Support Directory for resources and services. The website focuses on issues of health, healing and family violence.

Talk Tobacco | | 1-833-998-8255
Talk Tobacco is a free, confidential telephone service operated by the Canadian Cancer Society offering culturally appropriate support and information about quitting smoking, vaping and commercial tobacco use to Indigenous communities.


LGBTQ Resources

LGBTQ Youth Line | | Text Us: 1-647-694-4275
A toll-free Ontario-wide peer-support phone line for LGBTQ young people.

The Trevor Project (US) | | 1-866-488-7386
A national U.S.-based site committed to crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.


Suicide Prevention General Resources

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) |
CASP provides educational material and resources.

Ontario Suicide Prevention Network |
OASP providing information and resources to communities through the province of Ontario.

Mental Health First Aid |
Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours: First Aid Guidelines

Teen Mental Health (NS) |
Information and resources including several downloadable booklets such as Are You Coping with Suicidal Thoughts? and Have You Lost Someone to Suicide?

Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (BC) |
Coping with Suicidal Thoughts: A Resource for Patients

Here to Help (BC) |
A general guide in plain language prepared by the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division.


Resources for Parents

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario | | 1-613-737-7600
Information and specific guidance for parents on what to do if your child is at risk for suicide. |
Children and Youth with Thoughts of Suicide: Guide for Parents and Caregivers


Online Resources for Social Connection and Mental Wellness (CMHA)

Virtual Care for Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19

Additional Mental Health Resources during COVID-19

Mental Health Services and Resources in Manitoba