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 Ottawa Network for Borderline Personality Disorder (ON-BPD) has announced a free public lecture, Emotion Regulation for Coping with Stress: Overcoming Life Challenges and Fostering Daily Resilience, to be held via Zoom on Thursday, August 20, starting at noon.

The presenter will be Tina Montreuil, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Associate Member, Department of Psychiatry, at McGill University, Montreal.

Dr. Montreuil’s presentation will discuss some common misconceptions surrounding mental health issues.  The presentation will cover emotion regulation and related strategies to promote better management of stress and daily challenges.  The aim of the presentation is to provide participants with greater knowledge and tools that will ultimately help them move away from helplessness to a greater sense of mastery and resilience.

This public lecture is free of charge and open to all.  It will be a digital event offered via Zoom. Advance registration is required.  Click here to register.

The Ottawa Network for Borderline Personality Disorder, a registered charity for family members and caregivers, acknowledges with gratitude the support of the Ottawa Community Foundation and the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund in making this public lecture possible.

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2.  The Institute for Advancements in Mental Health (IAM) has announced an online workshop to help those living with or caring for someone with serious mental illness such as Psychosis or Schizophrenia become a partner in recovery and healing.

Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Psychosis (CBT-p) techniques, the virtual format will teach family members, friends, and caregivers pathways to healthier thinking, communication, and home life.  CBT-p is goal-based and focuses on problem solving – issues that surface in day-to-day home life.  It is a focused, short-term approach to help those with Psychosis make sense of what is happening within and around them, and to evaluate and respond to what is going on.  Caregivers will learn effective CBT-p-informed strategies to become a recovery partner to their family member or loved one living with Psychosis.  Additional learnings will include self-care tips, resources, and coping strategies for added resilience and an improved relationship with their loved one.  (For a more detailed description of CBT-p, click here.)

Registration is now open.  Early bird pricing at $250 ends July 27th.   To register, click here.

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3.  The Change Foundation recently published its second annual survey, Spotlight on Ontario’s Caregivers, to understand what it is like to be a caregiver in Ontario.  The organization looks at the experience caregivers have with the healthcare system, the types of caring tasks they are engaged in, the time and financial commitment required, and the impact of being a caregiver on their mental, physical, and emotional state.  Click here to view the 2019 report.

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4.  The Calgary-based Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) has recently 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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5.  The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre (The Royal) has published a list of resources for caregivers during the  COVID-19 pandemic under its Family Support Program.  Click here for a copy of this comprehensive six-page list, updated and compiled as of June 1, 2020.

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6.  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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7.   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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8.  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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9.  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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10.  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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11.  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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12.  Calgary-based Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) has announced a new men’s suicide prevention campaign, called Buddy Up.  “This campaign was created for men by men, encouraging them to have real conversations with their buddies and to support them if they’re struggling with thoughts of suicide.”  The CSP has also produced an 11″ X 17″ infographic about how to talk to someone about whom one is worried, and an updated toolkit on men’s suicide prevention.

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13.  The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre (The Royal) is seeking feedback from clients, family members, staff, volunteers, and the wider community to help define and refine a strategic plan for the Centre’s future patient care and research programs and activities.  To participate, click here.  For those preferring to share their ideas in a virtual focus group, register here.

The Royal has also created a database of questions and answers (Q&A) regarding COVID-19 and its impact on mental health, based on the questions it has received from the public.  To submit a question, or see the responses provided by The Royal’s expert practitioners, click here.

Finally, The Royal is conducting a survey, “How are you coping?  Assessing the psychological, social, and economic impacts of an emerging pandemic.”  The purpose of this study is to better understand how the COVID-19 outbreak affects several aspects of life.  To take part, click here.

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14.  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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15.  The ​​Government of Canada recently launched a new 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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16.  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:

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17.  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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18.  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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19.  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 Calendar of Topics for 2020, and also go to the PSO Website to view the full range of services currently offered.

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20.  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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21.  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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22.  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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23.  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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24.  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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25.  Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Centre is OPEN.  The 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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26.   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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27.  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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28.  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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29.  Goldie Ghamari, MPP for Carleton has announced a Covid-19: Carleton Community Resource & Information Page.  The page offers the latest information on COVID-19, including:

  • health care information and resources;
  • education and resources;
  • business resources;
  • how businesses and organizations can help fight COVID-19;
  • videos from the Premier of Ontario;
  • Government news releases;
  • links to Federal, Municipal, and International Websites;
  • Carleton Community resources from unaffiliated third-party sites; and
  • additional helpful information for the people of Carleton.

Click here.

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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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