In response to COVID-19 public health measures, several CMHA branches modified existing services or created new ones to continue to meet client needs safely during the pandemic. Some of these program innovations are featured below, listed by branch.
This page is updated regularly as new information on new and modified branch services becomes available.
Free call-in counselling
To continue to support the community during this stressful and uncertain time, CMHA Halton Region Branch seamlessly transitioned its in-person free walk-in counselling service to telephone. And not only did CMHA Halton pivot to keep counselling services going, they also were able to expand capacity from four days per week to five. Clients call in and leave a voicemail, and calls are returned within 24 hours, Monday to Friday. Read more.
CMHA Street Team
With Hamilton’s housing and opioid crises brought further to light through the pandemic, CMHA Hamilton has stepped up to provide supports to homeless individuals across the city. Despite already-stretched resources, CMHA Hamilton has deployed one registered nurse and four peer support workers to help homeless individuals with accessible primary, mental health and addictions care. Read more.
Skill-building support for health care workers and teachers
As a result of the pandemic’s increased stress and anxiety for health care professionals and educators, a new skill-building support program was designed for these front-line workers. It was developed to have an option outside of hospital/school where they could receive support and take time to focus on their own wellness while continuing to function in a stressful environment. Read more.
Safe Bed Program
To continue serving clients of its Safe Bed Program safely during COVID-19, CMHA Kenora had to make several adjustments to adhere to public health advice. Thanks to several modifications, Safe Bed Program services have been able to continue. Read more.
When in-person services were reduced as a result of COVID-19, CMHA Ottawa launched Project Connection in an effort to distribute smartphones to clients who had no access to virtual care. As of February 2021, CMHA Ottawa had already provided about 250 smartphones to clients who don’t otherwise have access to a device or the internet. Read more.
CMHA Peel Dufferin
Community Response Team
A centralized, multi-disciplinary on-demand service called the Community Response Team was designed during the pandemic to provide clients several pathways to care. The CRT offers a triage process for information and referrals, 1:1 telephone support and, for higher-risk clients, in-person response by CMHA Peel Dufferin workers. Read more.
Mental health & justice services
When all provincial courts were closed as a result of COVID-19, staff at CMHA Peel Dufferin pivoted to ensure mental health court diversion matters moved forward and clients being released from custody remained supported. Mental health and justice services (MHJS) were modified to continue to offer intensive individual assistance and advocacy around accessing community resources for people experiencing mental health concerns who are in conflict with the law. Read more.
Rapid Access Addiction Medicine clinics
Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics in Peel and Dufferin provide low-barrier, immediate access and care to people aged 16 and up who are struggling with problematic substance use. Because these clinics offer intensive, in-person services, COVID-19 made operating safely a significant challenge. CMHA Peel Dufferin moved swiftly to modify services to keep them available during the pandemic. Read more.
CMHA York and South Simcoe
BounceBack is a guided, self-help life skills program that’s effective in helping people aged 15 and up who are experiencing mild-to-moderate anxiety or depression, or may be feeling low, stressed, worried, irritable or angry. As a result of COVID-19, additional services were required to meet the needs of individuals with COVID-19-related concerns. Additionally, for those ineligible for the BounceBack program, additional system navigation services were required. Read more.
Clinical therapy services for COVID-19 front-line workers
Since March 2020, front-line workers in the health care and social service sectors have been working tirelessly to support others through the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing a unique set of challenges related to the nature of their work, CMHA York and South Simcoe Branch has stepped up to provide specialized services for front-line workers feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, or burned-out. Read more.
Telephone-based supportive counselling
The pandemic has created an intense amount of uncertainty, anxiety and worry and CMHA York and South Simcoe responded by creating this new service to help anyone in its community, not just those in crisis. Callers impacted by the pandemic expressed concern about a variety of issues, including unemployment, government supports, fear of catching COVID-19, etc. Read more.