Dear Clients of CMHA Ottawa,
I hope this message finds you well. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic—also known as the coronavirus—our agency has made some changes to how we deliver our services in the face of this unprecedented public health crisis, and these changes will affect how you interact with your CMHA Ottawa worker, if they have not already. The safety of community —including you—is our top priority right now, and always.
Our agency has decided to be very clear in our “social distancing” policies. That means there is to be no in-person contact between each other and our clients, like you. That will leave some of you feeling vulnerable and isolated. But it doesn’t mean you’re being abandoned. It just means we must take extra precautions in how we interact—for your own safety and the safety of our community.
Please reach out to your worker, peer or group facilitator by phone, text or email. We are doing our absolute best to maintain communication while abiding strictly by social distancing directives.
Ottawa Public Health has recommended we all self-isolate and keep six feet from each other (social distancing) for the next while. Our top doctors have recommended that travel outside be limited to the things we need: groceries, drugs and medical treatment, that’s it. Even general practitioners are now only seeing patients by phone. If you are having exceptional difficulties getting around or getting critical supplies please contact your worker who can help, but we must ask that you only go to the store for those essentials, as recommended by the top doctors.
Our website’s ‘for clients’ section is quickly becoming filled with tips for managing your mental health and well-being during these difficult times. There’s even some fun stuff there to lighten the mood.
We’re also adding a list of what’s opened and closed in the community, and changes being made by other social service providers in Ottawa. Our partners are working hard to look after the community while keeping people safe from COVID-19, too.
Our central reception will continue to answer calls from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (613) 737-7791, and we will continue to post updates on services to our website, but please note that our offices and group rooms are closed.
Be sure to limit your news and social media intake, get some fresh air if you can—that’s allowed—and monitor yourself for symptoms like dry cough, fever, and difficulty breathing. If you notice these symptoms, call Ottawa Public Health at (613) 580-6744 or ask your worker to call for you.
Take good care,
Dr. Tim Simboli
Executive Director of the Ottawa branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association