(Windsor, April 14, 2020) – In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-Essex County Branch (CMHA-WECB) has responded quickly in various ways to support the mental health and wellness of the Windsor-Essex County community. This includes the establishment of a new Pandemic Response Therapist position, whose main focus will be serving the needs of those affected mentally and emotionally by the pandemic.
We were able to make this position come to fruition immediately thanks to the generous support of the Toldo Foundation who have committed $70,000. The Toldo Foundation has a long history of community giving and supporting causes that improve the well-being of our regional community.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant and unique burden for our health care system, including increased demand for mental health services. From feelings of isolation and grief, to the extreme stresses experienced by our first responders and essential service providers, this pandemic has impacted so many in different ways. The Toldo Foundation is grateful for the CMHA’s proactive establishment of the Pandemic Response Therapist position to help those in need as we deal with the ongoing effects of this pandemic,” said Anthony G. Toldo, Trustee, The Toldo Foundation.
“This position is not government funded and as such we are extremely grateful to the Toldo Foundation for this extraordinary funding during this crisis. As the lead provider of community mental health and addictions services, we believe that it is our obligation to provide adequate supports especially during a crisis. We know that many people are experiencing heightened anxiety and depression and we anticipate that demand for our services will continue to increase,” said Claudia den Boer, CEO, CMHA-WECB.
Even before the virus outbreak, depression and anxiety have been noted as defining features of our times. Isolation and uncertainty are not going to help us deal with the new realities of our newly virtual lives – virtual work, virtual schools and virtual socialization – under the incredible stress of unfamiliar circumstances. CMHA-WECB is offering strategies to lessen the effect of social isolation via their #KeepConnected campaign, including tips on ways to stay connected with friends and family, webinars to deal with COVID-related stressors, and pivoting service provision to ensure the community is still able to access mental health and addictions services.
It is anticipated that the Pandemic Response Therapist will see individuals experiencing heightened anxiety and depression along with those who are dealing with grief over the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19.