Charity organization: 118828904RR0001


Envisioning a Canada without Suicide




COVID-19 & MENTAL HEALTH / SUICIDE: INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Dear colleagues and fellow community members,

We hope that you are remaining safe and well while navigating these challenging times.  The COVID19 pandemic has not only affected our physical health, but it has also created significant stressors for our emotional wellbeing.  CASP welcomes the increasing dialogue about both the immediate and longer-term mental health needs and concerns that have emerged, knowing that they will only continue to grow over the course of this national crisis.  We have received many questions about what this will mean for suicide in Canada, as we continue to support all of those who are responding on the frontlines as well as gathering information to help us better understand what the full impact will truly be.

Now that the focus has shifted to mental health and suicide, many of us are getting requests to share both our professional opinions and personal stories about how the novel coronavirus, with its physical, emotional, social and economic consequences, has added to and changed our risk for and response to suicide.  CASP appreciates the importance of talking about suicide, but always in as safe a way as possible. 


KEEPING WELL  -  KEEPING SAFE!

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) is aware that the physical and economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic may impact your mental health and emotional state of well-being. Please reach out to connect with others and to keep yourself informed from reliable sources.  To support your self-care, we have identified a number of strategies and resources to help you through these challenging times.

Strategies:

  • Please follow the public health guidelines for keeping yourself well and safe
  • There is a lot of information through the media, we would encourage you to stay informed and regularly disconnect from continuous news stories
  • Whether you are working from home or you have been laid off, keep some structure and routine in your daily life, such as getting up at a set time in the morning, dress, do some scheduled activities (see below for suggestions), etc.)
  • Enjoy social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, browsing on the internet, Television and use them for diversion and connection; and take some time out too.  Try to limit solitary activities and make sure you connect with others where possible. Maintain physical distancing while staying connected with your loved ones and social network (phone calls, facetime, messenger video, zoom.us, etc.)
  • It’s hard not to think about the situation all the time and we would encourage you to give yourself breaks from anxious worrying and rumination.  There are many Apps that offer meditation, mindfulness practices, yoga, etc.  Most apps have a free section and a paying section; usually, the free section is enough (Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, Zenfie, and many, many more).  Many musicians, yoga studios, etc.  are offering free online classes right now too.
  • Rediscover the pleasure of reading, drawing, coloring, cooking, knitting, crochet, playing or listening to music, arts and craft.  Sing, dance, do nothing, enjoy the sun on your face, do that “thing” you have been wanting to do for so long but never had the time to, etc.
  • Reach out for help, it’s a sign of courage and wisdom!

Resources:

Activities:

  • A lot of Museums, Zoos, are offering free Virtual Tours
  • Many libraries are offering free ebooks to borrow (download or online)
  • Some Theatres and Operas companies are offering recorded Plays to watch for free

The International Association for Suicide Prevention recently published media guidelines for reporting on suicide during the pandemic.  We share those with you in the hopes that they will inform you as to how best to talk about what you are experiencing and witnessing now and in the coming days ahead. We need to tell the story in a way that has a place for hope in our mission to prevent suicide and promote life. (click on the image for the PDF complete document).



Some articles... (click on the picture to get the PDF complete article)