We are here for you – in a different way.
As the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve, we want assure you that there is nothing we hold nearer and dearer than the health and wellbeing of the people we serve, as well as the staff, partners and community at SSO.
Times of great uncertainty around us as well as ongoing instructions from public health to maintain social distancing precautions, can lead some to experience increased social isolation, anxiety, and other negative emotions. This can all be extremely hard for all of us. With news reports, concerns about our health, lifestyle changes, and our regular routines disrupted, this is a time that has the potential to impact our mental health.
In view of all this, we wanted to ensure that you have a more specific understanding of how we are approaching the COVID-19 crisis here at SSO.
First, please know that we are working hard to ensure the continued delivery of our programs and services to you at this time, while protecting the health and wellbeing of all.
With advice from public health authorities, specifically the Public Health Agency of Canada,
to address the challenge that COVID-19 poses, we will be taking these immediate steps:
• We will be moving all current and upcoming programs to a virtual platform where possible – please visit us here
for more information as it becomes available
• Our physical offices will be closed, but rest assured we are here for you virtually! We are working as hard as we can to ensure this will have minimal impact on clients who will be able to access the content “live” from the comfort and safety of their homes
• Our counselling appointments will be done over the phone and via email – please refer to our Ask the Expert
for more details
• All future programs will be run virtually until further notice, and current program participants will be contacted with further details when these become available
• Our office will be open virtually with staff working remotely, and we will be checking voice mail and email regularly in order to stay connected with you
Please continue to stay in touch with us, and do not hesitate to contact our Ask the Expert Counselling line and email: 1-855-449-9949
if you need support.
One of our counsellors will try their best to respond to you within 24 hours. We thank you for your understand at this time. Please let us know if there is a phone number where we can leave you a message.
We also encourage everyone to stay informed and follow the advice of public health authorities: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/
Furthermore, we know this can be a time of high anxiety, fear and escalation of compromised mental health for our clients, and we want you to take care of yourself during this difficult time.
Here are some tips to help you:
- • Know it’s normal to feel anxious at this time, given the attention and conversation around COVID-19. Be aware of your anxiety, but also notice and challenge thoughts that can be extreme or not helpful. Try to keep things in perspective.
- • Ensure to practice self care, it is critical at this time. Stay connected to your social support network, even though this might mean it’s safest to do so digitally with some people at this time. Do the things you would normally do to support your health and be sure to be cautious, safe and acting within current public health guidelines while doing them.
- • Be aware of the source when seeking information: use reliable news sources only. You can limit checking in on the latest news to short, defined periods, and can turn off “push” notifications from your smartphone or other devices. Appropriate information may be calming and can lessen the sense of danger.
- • Take the recommended precautions as outlined by Health Canada and other credible health agencies, like Public Health Ontario. Remain focused on the factors within your control, such as washing hands, covering your mouth during coughs and sneezes, avoiding non-essential travel, etc.
- • If you’re noticing that your symptoms of anxiety (in association with COVID-19 or otherwise) are causing you significant distress or are interfering with your ability to function normally, reach out for support from your direct health care provider, or call our Ask the Expert Counselling line.
Your health and safety is of the utmost importance to us at SSO and we are here for you every step of the way.