Expanding Access to Mental Health Supports

These are difficult and uncertain times. In a few short weeks, we have had to adjust to a new way of life, one where many of us are separated from our friends, families, and loved ones.

Many in our community are experiencing isolation and anxiety, both as a result of the pandemic, as well as due to loss of income or employment. It’s okay not to feel okay. 

During this time, it’s important for all of us to remember to care for our own mental health. This is especially true for people who are self-isolating or in quarantine at home. As of March 30, anyone who has recently travelled, has symptoms of COVID-19 or close contact with someone who has, or is age 70 and over, should self-isolate at home. These people are at additional risk of loneliness, stress, and anxiety. 

To support children and youth, seniors, frontline workers, and those with intersectional identities, such as Indigenous, Black, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S to name a few, who are struggling with isolation and anxiety exacerbated by COVID-19 measures, the City has partnered with mental health service providers to offer targeted support to residents. 

Over the next 12 weeks, residents will be able to call 211, and be connected to one of seven primary mental health service partners for direct phone support. Some supports will also be available by text and online. Mental health service information will also be added online at: http://www.211toronto.ca/

These are essential services, and there is no fee. All supports are free and confidential. 

This mental health referral system complements, and does not replace, existing mental health support models. Existing mental health services will continue providing services to clients, and expand services where feasible.

Right now, it’s more important than ever that we continue to take care of each other. Reach out to your friends, family, and neighbours by phone or online to check in. If you need someone to talk to, call 211 to be connected to someone who can listen and provide support. We’re all in this together.