If you or someone close to you is struggling with mental health challenges, the most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Mental health affects everyone, and there are resources and community support available to help you through whatever you’re dealing with.
If you need support, but aren't sure where to start, here are five resources available to Albertans:
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has put together a huge list of resources to assist individuals and families in coping with everything from addiction to postpartum depression to workplace stress to recently diagnosed mental health disorders. You’ll find links to helplines, practical assistance (like finding affordable housing or reporting a sexual assault), community support groups (like AA), and strategies for living through tough situations (like the loss of a job, the survival of a natural disaster or the breakdown of a relationship). AHS also offers online and text-based mental health support, so if you’re unable to leave your home, you can still get the help you need.
Togetherall, offered by AHS, is one way to access mental health support without ever having to book an appointment, leave your home or talk to a specialist. It’s an online peer-to-peer community—kind of like a message board, but the moderators are clinically trained mental health professionals, so you know that the advice you’re receiving is helpful and appropriate to your situation. Togetherall is also a place where you can share your thoughts in a journal, express yourself through digital art and access self-assessment tools that will help you keep track of your own wellbeing, no expert referral needed. The program is free to all Albertans 16 years and up. Register using your AB postal code.
Alberta’s Mental Health Foundation provides mental health support for all Albertans by bridging the gap between health care and community. Its programs include: a day hospital program, walk-in centres, a 24/7 helpline, family workshops, cutting-edge neurological treatment for depression, youth services, addiction services, and programs for students, men and cancer patients. Recently, the Mental Health Foundation also launched Text4Hope, a text-based program to help Albertans dealing with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more info, visit the Mental Health Foundation site.
If you need immediate support, go to the Mental Health Foundation's help page for a simple directory of 24/7 and emergency care services in Alberta, and walk-in care providers in Edmonton.
Wellness Together Canada is a Government of Canada-funded program that provides 24/7 online access to text support to help Canadians cope with the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wellness Together Canada also offers mental health information, educational tools, access to online support communities, and one-on-one counselling via phone, video call or text. Services are free, and are offered in both English and French.
If you’re not sure where to start, take the first step by completing their five minute self-assessment.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s COVID-19 resource hub is your go-to place online for all things related to the pandemic and mental health in Canada. You’ll be able to find relevant COVID-19 updates, resources specific to each province and territory, Government of Canada resources and information for youth, healthcare providers and seniors.
The Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) COVID-19 resource hub doesn’t just offer links to help lines and provincial support centres—although that information is all here. You’ll also find the CMHA’s policy recommendations, practical how-to guides for caring for yourself and others, and guides to help you maintain your workplace mental health—whether “workplace” means a socially-distanced office, a front-line service or industry location, or your home office.