PEI

How the Canadian Mental Health Association has adapted on P.E.I. during the pandemic

It’s Mental Health Week in Canada, and it’s being marked in a very different way this year.

‘It's a great reminder of how resilient humans are’

Canadian Mental Health Association, P.E.I. division executive director Treena Smith says CMHA hasn't been able to offer face-to-face supports, so has turned online to fill that gap. (CBC)

It's Mental Health Week in Canada, and it's being marked in a very different way this year.

Typically there would be educational components, talks about prevention, barbecues, cake, gatherings and celebrations around mental health.

But this year "we obviously can't do that," says Canadian Mental Health Association, P.E.I. division executive director Treena Smith.

With the stress of social isolation and financial difficulties brought about by the pandemic, finding ways to care for your mental health are even more important than usual, but that same social isolation can make getting help more difficult.

As with so many others, the CMHA has turned to online options to fill the gap. It has replaced its in-face educational offerings with a weekly Facebook Live session on Fridays.

"We launched them during Mental Health Week, but they're going over really well so we are probably going to continue them," said Smith.

'We know how to do this'

The theme of the week for this year is social connectedness. Smith said that's something Maritimers excel at.

"Even during a global pandemic, even during these hard times, we know how to do this. We know how to take care of each other," said Smith.

"It sounds so simple right. But it's a great reminder of how resilient humans are and how resilient our communities are."

Social media has also been used to reach regular clients, said Smith. Also, recognizing not everyone has a reliable internet connection, the phone lines have also been busy. With physical distancing restrictions easing starting last Friday, people have been having some small back deck meetings as well.

Smith said CMHA services will continue to adapt as restrictions in the pandemic are slowly lifted.

More from CBC P.E.I.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story identified Treena Smith as the executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association. She is the executive director of the P.E.I. division of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
    May 07, 2020 1:05 PM AT

With files from Island Morning

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