For the past several days, the pandemic response team at the Ottawa branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has been following the up-to-the-minute recommendations of Public Health Ontario and Ottawa Public Health in order to respond appropriately to the COVID-19 pandemic in each facet of our operations and to keep our staff and clients safe.
From the delivery of client services to on-site programming and administration, we would like to reassure you that we’re doing everything in our power to help stop the spread. Throughout this situation, our clients, staff and community partners remain our top priority. Our efforts may take some time, but our commitment remains.
Please note: Effective immediately, the CMHA Ottawa offices at 311 McArthur Avenue will be closed to the public for the next three (3) weeks, until Monday, April 6, at which time we will re-assess the situation and advise accordingly. This suspension includes all scheduled and unplanned group activities in the second-floor client space and in the basement training area. We are also asking outside agencies that use these spaces to suspend their planned activities as well.
Group/individual support and counselling: We are replacing all in-person group/individual support and counselling – both on- and off-site – with phone calls and/or online communications. We will be focussing on ensuring that all staff have the tools they need in order to do so over the next week. Timely communications will be shared with clients and community partners regarding any changes that are made to services.
CMHA Ottawa staff: We have also implemented a work-from-home policy for all employees who can perform their functions remotely and suspended all work-related travel deemed non-essential.
Rest assured that CMHA Ottawa will continue to function effectively. Our central reception will continue to answer calls remotely from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and we will continue to post updates on services to our website. CMHA Ottawa workers will continue to support their clients as best they can and will be reaching out to clients over the next several days.
Active screening: We are implementing an active screening process in the event of all in-person contact. We kindly ask all clients and staff to please self-monitor for symptoms and follow the directions of Ottawa Public Health if you’re experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms such as dry cough, fever or shortness of breath, or if you have recently returned from travelling outside of Canada.
We recognize that this is an unprecedented circumstance for clients, our staff, and our community, and we thank you for your patience and support.
While the current focus is rightly on the physical health of the community, we would like to remind everyone reading this message to look after their mental health as well. Don’t forget to practice self-care, try to limit your media intake, check in with loved ones, and get some fresh air, too.
Remember, if you’re concerned you may have contracted COVID-19, please follow Ottawa Public Health instructions here: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/novel-coronavirus.aspx
The Pandemic Response Team at CMHA Ottawa