Community news

NOTE: Check with each of the following organizations closer to the dates indicated below to determine whether their event has been cancelled or will take place.

1.  The Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP), based in Calgary, Alberta, has updated its Together to Live Website, a step-by-step guide to creating a community suicide prevention plan.  The site includes:

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2.  The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be hosting two Webinars:

a) The Persons with Disabilities Presentation, on Thursday, August 5, from 4:30 to 6 pm.  Caregivers for a dependent with a disability may be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, medical expenses, Canada Caregiver Credit, and the Child Disability Benefit.  The CRA will answer questions during the Webinar.

b) Benefits & Credits for Caregivers Presentation, on Tuesday, August 10, from 4:30 – 6 pm.  A caregiver for an individual with a physical or mental impairment may be entitled to benefits and tax credits. Join the Webinar to obtain more information about the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB), Canada Caregiver Credit, medical expenses, and Slam the Scam.  The CRA will answer questions during the Webinar.

To register for either, click here.

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3.  As part of the Manitoba government’s commitment to mental health and peer support, Peer 2 Peer Connections, the peer support division of Peer Connections Manitoba, formerly the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, and Robyn Priest LIVE YOUR TRUTH will be offering the following free peer-led workshops via Zoom for individuals and family members:

a) The Advocacy Role of a Family Member – Taking a Deep Dive into What Your Role Is.  The workshop will offer tools with which to advocate within the health care system, as well as with friends and family.  Tuesday, July 20, from 8 to 10 pm.  Facilitated by Kirsten Drybrough.  To register, click here.

b) Getting Rid of the “Shoulds.  “Do you ‘SHOULD’ on yourself?  Do you find others ‘SHOULD’ on you?  Do you ‘SHOULD’ on other people?  Let’s get rid of the ‘SHOULDS’ and learn to take better care of ourselves.  This two-hour workshop is changing lives.  It delves deep into how we view what is expected of ourselves and others.  Learn how to reframe this mindset and shove the shoulds out of your vocabulary.”  Tuesday, August 17, from 8 to 10 pm.  Facilitated by Robyn Priest.  To register, click here.

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4.  The June 10, 2021, issue of Lumino, a publication of the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, contains useful tips from a registered Psychologist on managing stress and anxiety during a pandemic.

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5.  The Calgary-based Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) has updated its Indigenous People, Trauma and Suicide Prevention toolkit.

Historically, suicide was a very rare occurrence among Indigenous peoples, and it was only after contact with Europeans that it became prevalent.  Intergenerational trauma is one of the primary colonial effects contributing to the elevated rate of suicide among Indigenous people today.  These suicides can be prevented, and there are many aspects of Indigenous culture that contribute to resilience against suicide, including connection between Indigenous Elders and youth, speaking an Indigenous language, and practicing spirituality.”

Click here.

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6.  Steps to Justice has two new tools to help you understand Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), including three simple flowcharts that explain (a) applying for OW, (b) applying for ODSP, and (c) appealing an OW or ODSP decision, and a new tool that creates a letter to request an Internal Review of a decision for OW or for ODSP.  Steps to Justice is a collaborative project led by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO), and is funded by Legal Aid Ontario; Department of Justice, Canada; and The Law Foundation of Ontario.

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7.  HeretoHelp, a project of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information, has published an infosheet, entitled Evaluating Mental Health and Substance Use Information, designed to empower individuals to think critically about mental health and substance use information from mainstream media sources to social media to personal stories.  These principles may be applied to other topics to help decide what information is useful and what information doesn’t stand up to the test.  Click here.

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8.  The Ontario Caregiver Organization (OCO) once again offers its SCALE Program (Supporting Caregiver Awareness, Learning and Empowerment) to empower individuals with practical information and skills to enhance self-awareness with a focus on their own needs and well-being.  The program includes Webinars which may be viewed on the organization’s YouTube channel.

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9.  The February 20, 2021, post on the Psychology Today Website featured an article by Robert Taibbi, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, entitled “11 Tips for Helping Your Loved One with ADHD.”

ADHD can all too easily leave folks feeling like losers. Here’s how to help.”

  1. Get the topic on the table.
  2. Routines, routines.
  3. Procrastination, part 1: Map out the week/map out the day.
  4. Procrastination, part 2: Do hard before easy.
  5. Procrastination, part 3: Work, break, work.
  6. Run around.
  7. No-distraction space.
  8. Regulate computer time.
  9. Coordinate with others.
  10. Negotiate how to be the sideline coach.
  11. Help them create self-esteem.

Intrigued by the above headings?  Read the entire article here.

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10.  Changing Minds has announced the start of a virtual OCD GOAL Support Group.  This peer-led and professionally-assisted group will run the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 7 to 9 pm and is for adults over the age of 18 in Ontario living with OCD.

Visit their Website to learn more or send an Email to goalgroupottawa@gmail.com.

Changing Minds is a non-profit organization based in Ottawa supporting individuals seeking help with mental health disorders through sharing information, skills, and knowledge, and by helping create access to specialty mental health programs.  Its current focus is on activities related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), given the urgency identified for treatment, information, and support.

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11.  The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has published Beneath the Surface: Self-care Myths and Facts.  (Click here for the document and here for the associated guide to self-care)

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12.  The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) has published Supporting the Well-being of Mental Health Service Providers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence summary and links to resources and supports.  (Click here)

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13.  The Family Caregivers of British Columbia (FCBC) has released its Caregiver Support Plan: Making It Personal, an eight-page guide to creating a foundation and developing strategies to help navigate the many challenges caregivers often face.  A plan allows caregivers to think about how best to care, decide what supports will help, and ways to better manage what’s in one’s control and what’s not.  (Click here)

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14.  The Ottawa Network for Borderline Personality Disorder (ON-BPD) has published the inaugural issue of its newsletter.  This first issue is about Coping in COVID.  (Click here)

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15.  The Parents’ Lifeline of Eastern Ontario (PLEO) has announced the creation of Dear PLEO, a new question and answer resource for parents of children struggling with mental health challenges, and for those who support them.  To connect with this new service, Email PLEO at info@pleo.on.ca or message their Facebook page.

Parents may also call PLEO’s confidential Parents’ Helpline between 9 am and 7 pm, Monday to Friday, at 855-775-7005 to engage with a peer who can help navigate the mental health system, provide links to additional resources, or just offer a listening ear.

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16.  The Calgary-based Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) has released a new video entitled “How Do I Talk to Someone Thinking about Suicide.”  Executive Director Mara Grunau talks about how to recognize someone who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide and how to have a conversation and connect them to help.  Video topics include:

  • Warning signs for suicide
  • How to have a conversation with someone
  • How to connect them to help.

Click here to view the video.  (Time: 9:05)

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17.  Managing the Next Wave.  Toronto-based Partners for Planning (P4P) has put together a list of possibilities for families to help manage the anticipated next wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to P4P:

Many families say that often their best source of information, inspiration, and support are other families.  As we enter yet another wave of the pandemic, it can be helpful on so many levels to connect with other families that may share some of the challenges you’re experiencing.  Check out these seven different opportunities to connect with other families to get information, new ideas, have a great conversation –  or a little fun –  on Zoom.

The seven organizations are:

  • Family Alliance Ontario
  • Sibling Collaborative
  • Community Living Toronto – Family Link (perhaps not of interest to Ottawa caregivers)
  • Autism Ontario
  • Caregivers On-Line Support Group
  • Young Caregivers Support Group
  • Ontario Independent Facilitation Network (OIFN).

For those not familiar with any of these groups, here is the link to the P4P Website which provides an overview of each, as well as the link to each organization’s Website.

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18.  The Calgary-based Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) offers a blog entitled “Maintaining Relationships and Social Connection.”  According to the CSP, finding a way to stay socially connected during the pandemic is probably one of the best things individuals can do for their mental health.  The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone into a new way of being – with themselves and with others.

Fortunately, this is a time when seeing loved ones virtually is relatively easy.  For many people, for now, video calls and distance walks are enough to satisfy the basic human need for social interaction.  For others, though, loneliness as a result of isolation is becoming a major issue.  Click here to read the blog post.

This is the third blog in the CSP series Hope, belonging, meaning and purpose: suicide prevention in times of crisis.  It explores why social connection is so important and some effects the pandemic may have had on this aspect of people’s lives.

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19.  The Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region‘s services have expanded and they now offer both text and chat support.  The hours of operation are from 10 am to 11 pm, 7 days a week throughout the year.  This service is available to all residents of the City of Ottawa, regardless of age.  Click here to learn more.

Note: the Ottawa Distress Centre’s text and chat service is not an emergency service.  If you have an immediate life-threatening emergency, dial 911.

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20.   The OCD Ottawa‘s Support Group for ages 16+ meets virtually on a weekly basis.  To join meetings and for guidance with treatment and support resources, Email: info@ocdottawa.com.  Click here for more information.

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21.  The Zone Next Steps is designed to help youth age 18-26 with their employment goals.  Facilitated by the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre (WOCRC) with the Community Employment Resource Centre, it features tailored plans for each youth, workshops on everything from LinkedIn to résumé writing, and financial supports to pay for certifications as such as SmartServe, WHMIS, Safe Food Handling, etc., or to pay for equipment required for employment, such as work boots, etc. The program is six weeks long and will be run several times.

Interested youth may register by Emailing Youth@wocrc.ca.

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22.  The Oasis in Kanata has created a Caregiver Matters support group on Facebook.  This private group is meant to provide a safe and confidential space for caregivers to support each other.  It is a substitute for the Caregivers Matters monthly support group that is currently not able to meet due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The group will be monitored to ensure rules of conduct are being upheld.  Topics will be posted occasionally by a member of The Oasis in Kanata program committee to spark discussion.  However, the space is meant for members to post their own thoughts, feelings, and questions for response by other caregivers of people living with mental illness.

If you are a caregiver and would like to join this group, click here and request to join by clicking on the Join button.  After answering a few questions and reading the terms and conditions, the Administrator will approve your request as soon as possible.

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23.  The Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada (CADDAC) has made available a Webinar which features Dr. Margaret Weiss on “ADHD and Sleep.” ADHD is a 24-hour disorder.  Nighttime difficulties associated with ADHD include delayed circadian rhythm (going to sleep too late) and night-to-night variability in sleep patterns.  Difficulties with sleep further exacerbate problems with attention and impulse control.  ADHD is a disorder of self-regulation that also makes it more difficult to entrain a regular sleep rhythm.

In the video, Dr. Weiss speaks on how families and individuals with ADHD can improve this vicious cycle and in obtaining a good night’s sleep improve their well-being during the day as well.

Dr. Weiss is the Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Child Psychiatry at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) in Massachusetts, USA.  CHA offers services including primary care, specialty care, and mental health and substance use services.

To view this YouTube video (Length: 1:11:38), click here.

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24.    The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre (The Royal) has published an updated list of resources for caregivers for fall 2020 under its Family Support Program.  Click here for a copy of this comprehensive fifteen-page list.

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25.  The Parent’s Lifeline of Eastern Ontario (PLEO) has produced a series of videos regarding Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth.  Click here for more information and access to the series.

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26.  The Calgary-based Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) has published a 16-page Children and Suicide Toolkit which includes statistics, warning signs for suicide, why children may think about suicide, and how these suicides can be prevented.  While suicide in children is rare, if thoughts of suicide go untreated, the risk of suicide grows with age.  It is important to identify children thinking about suicide as early as possible so they can receive treatment for mental health concerns.

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27.   The Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada (CADDAC) has developed a 14-page Toolkit: Transitioning to Post-Secondary Education for Students with ADHD to help students and their parents prepare for the transition to college or university.  Click here to download a copy.

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28.   OCD Ottawa‘s Support Group for ages 16+ now meets virtually on a weekly basis.  For details, click here.  To join meetings, and for information and guidance with treatment and support resources, contact info@ocdottawa.com.  For family support, contact barb@ocdottawa.com.

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29.  Dr. Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, has published a free 12-page eBook entitled FACE COVID: How to respond effectively to the Corona crisis, a set of practical steps for responding effectively to the Corona crisis, using the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).  Click here for a copy.

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30.  Through the participation of 13 different local organizations, and financially supported by the Ottawa Community Foundation, Counselling Connect provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session for children, youth, adults, and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area.  There is no waiting list.

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31.  The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has produced a two-page handout, “Tips on talking to someone in crisis during COVID-19,” which provides examples of effective active listening techniques to navigate sensitive conversations with confidence.

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32.  School Mental Health Ontario (SMHO-SMSO) has published a two-page tip sheet, “Personal Resiliency Tips During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which offers helpful suggestions regarding self-care to improve one’s energy, focus, and ability to cope with challenges and overall life experience.

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33.  Family Caregivers of British Columbia (FCBC) has produced a seven-page booklet entitled “Taking Care of Yourself: Self-Care Strategies for Family and Friend Caregivers” which shares strategies such as self-awareness, self-compassion, creating connections, and personal supports and health dimension planning.  The booklet includes a useful chart caregivers may use to explore the various dimensions of their own health, as well as a Caregiver Self-Assessment form to identify areas to consider in order to maintain one’s resilience.

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34.  The ​​Government of Canada recently launched a portal dedicated to mental wellness​​Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support. ​ ​This portal provides free online resources, and connects Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists​,​ and other trained professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls, in both official languages. ​ ​Resources include modules for addressing anxiety, substance use, social isolation​,​ and relationship issues.

The portal is the result of the work of a broad consortium of organizations with experience in providing digital mental health and substance use support. ​ ​It is led by Stepped Care Solutions, Kids Help Phone, Homewood Health​,​ and Greenspace Health and supported by partners including Bell Let’s Talk, Canada Health Infoway, Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Canadian Psychological Association, and Medavie.

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35.  For over 25 years, Toronto-based Partners for Planning (P4P) has been empowering people with disabilities and their families with free resources to create meaningful lives and secure futures, firmly rooted in community.  To help address some of the challenges families are facing at the moment, P4P is currently offering free check-in calls with a Facilitator to discuss possible resources they may wish to access.  There are a number of spots available for anyone in Ontario who would like to schedule a call.  To connect with a facilitator, register here.

P4P also offers a wealth of COVID-19-related resources which are updated regularly:

Staying Connected Resource provides information and strategies to deal with self-isolation; and

Covid-19 FAQ Resource provides current and practical information to critical questions about accessing resources.

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36.  The Valley Centre for Counselling, based in Dundas, Ontario, has created a free six-part series of online articles entitled “A Practical Evidence-Based Self-Help Program for COVID-19-Related Worry and Anxiety.”  Topics include: “On Anxiety,” “On Worry,” “On Uncertainty,” “On Thinking,” “On Calm,” and “On Activity.”

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37.  The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre is offering Family Support Groups via Zoom.  Two sessions are held each week, on Tuesdays from noon to 1 pm, and on Wednesdays, from 4 to 5 pm.  See the two-page information sheet for more details.  The sheet also includes a list of useful resources and activities The Royal has put together for caregivers during this time of self-isolation for many families.  To join a support group, Email Juliet Haynes, Family Engagement and Experience Coordinator, at juliet.haynes@theroyal.ca.

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38.  The Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa’s (PSO) Family Peer Support Group meetings are now available online via Zoom.  Every Monday, except for statutory holidays, sessions will be offered from 6:30 to 8 pm.  To be invited to participate, or for more information, contact Sean D. at seand@pso-ottawa.ca or telephone 613-567-4379, Ext. 221.  Every second week, conversation topics, such as Being Powerless over Others, Giving in a Healthy Way, Rescuing Ourselves, Caretaking vs. Responsibility for Ourselves, will be offered.  These sessions are intended to provide participants with a sense of community, companionship, and support.  Click here to see the monthly support and leisure event calendars and also go to the PSO Website to view the full range of services currently offered.

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39.  Jack.org, a Canadian charity which trains and empowers young leaders to revolutionize mental health in every province and territory, has partnered with School Mental Health Ontario and Kids Help Phone Canada to put together a COVID-19 Youth Mental Health Resource Hub so that Canada’s youth are able to easily access the education, tools, support, and reliable information they need.

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40.  OCD Ottawa‘s OCD Support Group for ages 16+now meets virtually on a weekly basisTo join meetings, and for information and guidance with treatment and support resources, contact info@ocdottawa.com.  For family support contact barb@ocdottawa.com.

The International OCD Foundation has produced a Public Service Announcement (PSA) entitled “What the OCD community wants YOU to know about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.”  (Time: 2:33)

According to the Foundation, “Over the past couple of months, we’ve noticed an uptick in people using the term OCD as an adjective. While we are all experiencing an increase in anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want the general public to know that this does NOT necessarily mean they have OCD, nor is OCD a helpful thing to have at this time.  We hope this PSA will make a difference.”

The Foundation has asked those who view the video to share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #realocd and #NotAnAdjective.”

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41.  Achieve, the Centre for Leadership & Workplace Performance, is a Winnipeg-based training company which has provided a number of free resources to assist Canadians during the present COVID-19 pandemic.  These include:

  • Videos and Webinars which provide practice insights and strategies on a variety of topics related to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Audio Exercises for Managing Stress and Anxiety.
  • Covid-19 Printable Handouts on Managing Anxiety and Fear, Strategies for Supporting Children, Mindful Breathing Tips, and Health Habit Log.
  • COVID-19 Blog Articles, including “4 Key Dimensions of Self-Care,” “How to Communicate in a Crisis,” “6 Tips to Improving Your Mental Health,” “How to Stay Optimistic During Tough Times,” “7 Steps for Controlling Your Emotions,” and many more in the links provided.

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42.  An animated YouTube video, entitled FACE COVID, has been created by Dr. Russ Harris to help caregivers and their loved ones face COVID-19 by applying simple, but effective, strategies to manage their anxiety. (Time: 5:23)   Dr. Harris also produced a 12-page eBook to complement the video.

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43.  The Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre (WOCRC) remains committed to ensuring the most vulnerable are supported in the community.  The WOCRC is participating in the city-wide Human Needs Task Force and adapting certain services to offer phone support and virtual programs.

  • Chrysalis House remains open and their crisis line is available 24-7.
  • EarlyON offers virtual services for families with children 0-6 years and Family Navigation.
  • Zone, Zone-Plus, and Queerios offer virtual youth drop-ins.
  • Community services provide telephone support and essential needs.
  • Counselling Services and information on community resources are available by phone.  These include, among others: mental health, housing, food, women and violence against women, seniors, urgent transportation, dental services, financial, harm reduction, and legal.

Visit the Website, follow the WOCRC on Twitter and Facebook, or call 613-591-3686 to get the most up-to-date information on services.  Also, access Ottawa Public Health for information and the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Kids Help Phone for supports.

Thank you to many of you who are reaching out to your neighbours, families, friends, students, partners, and us here at Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre with offers of support.  We are here, and will get through this together as a community.  Stay home, stay healthy, and please reach us if you need anything.”  Maria Friis, Capacity Developer, Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre.

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44.  Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Centre is Ottawa’s community leader in developing and delivering a range of individualized mental health services solely for children under the age of 12 and their loved ones.  Free for families.

This is a great time to call Intake for services.  Walk-In Clinic services also continue to be offered.  Crossroads understands the stress families are dealing with at the moment.  This can translate to children having a hard time self-regulating with all the unstructured time or experiencing anxiety about the current situation, or parents struggling between work and taking care of a child that may not have the skills to keep themselves busy.  Our team remains available to the community by phone or video conferencing.

To book an intake or walk-in session, please call 613-723-1623 extension 232 or email info@crossroadschildren.ca and someone will be in touch with you shortly.”

For more information about this service, visit the Crossroads Website here.

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45.   The Ottawa Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Ottawa CBT) has made a series of free podcasts available on coping with the COVID-19 virus, among other topics, via Spotify.  Caregivers who attended the October 28, 2019, information session on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder at The Oasis in Kanata will recognize Dr. Caitlin Claggett Woods’ name on the list of contributors.  Her 16-minute podcast on Coping with Anxiety & Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic may be found at the top of the list in the link provided here.

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46.  The Ontario Caregiver Organization has produced a tip sheet entitled Caregiver Mental Health During COVID-19 Outbreak which provides a series of practical suggestions for those caring for a loved one during the present pandemic.

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47.  The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre has prepared a variety of resources for caregivers and their charges:

  • a COVID-19 Q&A: Tips for Caregivers page;
  • a Caring for Caregivers tip sheet listing a variety of resources and on-line activities for individuals and families, as well as Zoom Guidelines and Consent information for those wishing to take part in the online Family Support Group sessions;
  • a Question & Answer (Q&A) page on how to manage Panic Attacks during the current health crisis;
  • A great big list of things that can help you cope while practicing physical distancing and self-isolation” (click here);
  • a detailed graphic called “Taking care of myself while practicing physical distancing;”
  • a means for individuals to contribute to The Royal’s “Add your questions to our COVID-19 Q&AsWebsite page whereby experts can provide answers that will be helpful for all; and
  • a free Webcast hosted by Dr. Tim Lau, Psychiatrist and President of the medical staff, which aired on April 9 on the topic of “Building resiliency in times of uncertainty – conquering COVID’s emotional contagion.”  (The session was recorded and will be made available on The Royal’s Website, as well as across its social media channels.)

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NOTE: The Oasis in Kanata does not endorse the above sessions, programs, research projects, or their content, nor does it derive any benefit from the organizations or individuals involved, but merely wishes to bring the above to your attention.

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