Angela Princewill

January 28, 2021

Mental wellness is extremely important. We often ignore or minimize it. People give unhelpful suggestions like “just get over it!” But you know it’s not that simple. You are trying and it is immensely difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized its importance even more with you being cut off the people and experiences that brought you some peace and joy. Add to that the social justice issues that everyone seems to be talking about even more lately such as racism against Blacks, indigenous and people of color, and let’s not forget all of the political drama in the United States; it’s no wonder you feel even more anxious and depressed.

Self-care is so important. Your mental well-being matters just as much as your physical well-being. I realize mental wellness may mean something different for each person. For some, it may mean simple rest and relaxation, and for others, mental well-being could include having a sense of purpose, strong relationships, feeling connected to others, having a good sense of self, and/or coping with stress.[1]  The World Health Organization defines mental well-being as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

I know right now you may be limited in those you can have contact with given these seemingly unending lockdowns and that is why I am providing you with these resources so you can get the help you need.

The main thing I want you to remember is you are not in this alone. There are many organizations available across the GTA to support you and below are some of those resources to help you start your journey toward mental wellbeing. While on this journey, breathe, utilize your resources, and keep going because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Resources for Domestic Violence:

Signal For Help | Use Sign to Ask for Help | Canadian Women’s Foundation – “Signal for Help” is a simple one-handed sign someone can use on a video call. It can help a person silently show they need help and want someone to check in with them in a safe way.”

www.sheltersafe.ca/  – Most shelters on this site have staff available 24/7 to answer your call. You DO NOT need to stay in a shelter to get help. On the sheltersafe.ca map, click on the shelters located in the area where you wish to find help. Shelter workers will maintain confidentiality and advocate for you in the complex web of services you may need to access.

endingviolencecanada.org  – a national non-profit organization whose main purpose is to educate and respond to gender-based violence at the national level. There are many resources provided on the site that are available across provinces and territories.

Resources for elder abuse: www.canada.ca or COVID-19: Seniors & Vulnerable People – City of Toronto

Resources for Youth, children, and child abuse:

kidshelpphone.ca –or crisistextline.ca by calling 1-800-668-6868 or texting 686868

Mental health support: get help – Canada.ca – offers a variety of services to Canadians such as Kids Help, Hope for Wellness, and Crisis Service Canada.

Homepage – Mental Health Toronto  – This website can help you find mental health services for infants, children, youth, and families in your community or call 1-866 585 6486.

Good2Talk, Post-Secondary Student Helpline – 24/7 – Good2Talk is a free, confidential support service for post-secondary students in Ontario. By calling Good2Talk at 1-866-925-5454, students can receive information and referrals about services and supports for mental health, addictions, and well-being on and off campus and speak anonymously with a professional counselor.

Post-secondary students can also access free, text-based support through Good2Talk’s partnership with Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone. By texting GOOD2TALKON to 686868, students can chat with a trained volunteer Crisis Responder.

Additional Resources include:

Ontario 211 | Community and Social Services Help Line (211ontario.ca) – offers information and services via chat, phone, or email based on a variety of needs such as food, employment, seniors, transit discount, social services, etc.

Counselling – Region of Durham – Family Services Durham provides counseling and mental health support and services by telephone to people living or working in Durham Region. You may access services, by calling 905 666-6240 or 1 866 840-6697.

COVID-19: Mental Health Resources – City of Toronto – The City of Toronto has partnered with ten organizations to help connect residents to free telephone, text and online mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mental Health Archives – CMHA National – Canada Mental Health Association has locations across the GTA with a mission to “facilitate access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness.”

Food Aids:

Ontario – Canadian Red Cross – The Canadian Red Cross launches Toronto Emergency Food Assistance – Ontario – Canadian Red Cross

Food Banks Canada – Home – Food Banks Canada is a national charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians living with food insecurity.

For lawyers:

LAWPRO SUPPORT – The PracticePRO program provides risk management, claims prevention, and law practice management information to Ontario lawyers to help them meet challenges.

  • Wellness and Balance:  The PracticePRO program promotes wellness and encourages lawyers to manage stress and achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Together with the Law Society of Ontario, LawPRO provides financial support for the Member Assistance Program (MAP) for Ontario lawyers, law students, licensed paralegals, and their families provided through Homewood Health.

The Mindful Lawyer CPD SeriesLawyers are remarkably efficient at taking care of clients, transactions, cases, files, and juggling all of the pressures that come along with impossible deadlines, high-stake deals and endless responsibilities. Take part in the Mindful Lawyer Series from the OBA and reap the benefits in your professional and personal life.

Our team at AP Lawyers care about your mental wellbeing.  Don’t suffer in silence. We’re here for you. 

[1] “Mental health: What is it, really?” <https://cmha.ca/blogs/mental-health-what-is-it-really>

*** List of resources collated by Tara Seosankar

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Family Law Firm in Markham, Pickering, Toronto, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.