A Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ottawa Branch initiative that’s supporting clients with free smartphones during the COVID-19 pandemic has been featured by CBC on TV and radio.
When the pandemic shut down support programs for vulnerable people, it left CMHA Ottawa caseworkers challenged to stay connected with almost 1,500 clients. The branch worked to procure and then distribute smartphones as a way to stay in contact with clients, but the devices have had the added benefit of allowing individuals to maintain a stronger connection with others despite physical distancing and isolation during the pandemic.
The CBC stories profile CMHA Ottawa client Bill O’Brien, who had recently moved from a shelter to his own apartment. When the pandemic hit, he found himself alone and without a phone.