COVID -19 Series: Middle Fostering Positive Mental Health in Uncertain Times
Email Header

April 6, 2020
Middle Snapshot
Fostering Positive Mental Health in Uncertain Times

Managing Stress and Worry
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2020  has created a natural reaction of stress, worry, and fear within our community.  Fear can create strong emotions and a sense of overwhelm for adults, children, and youth.

Stressors may include:  fear and worry about your health and the health of loved ones, financial concerns or job loss, difficulty sleeping, and unhealthy coping mechanisms such as increased use of substances.  By working together, we are able to offer support, extend kindness, build resiliency, and successfully navigate this time of uncertainty.

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include:

Excessive crying or irritation in younger children  
Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example bed wetting)
Excessive worry or sadness
Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
More refusal to cooperate than usual
Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
Unexplained headaches or body pain
Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs 
Difficulty with attention and concentration

Dear parents and caregivers by doing your best to manage your own stress, you are better equipped to support your family.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media
. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Consider setting a specific time each day for consuming information and avoid repeated checking. It fuels anxiety.

Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, get outside as much as possible,  get as much sleep as possible, avoid or minimize substance use. 

Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy. 

Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Virtual connection with others can improve mood and lower stress.

If you are parenting alone reach out to others for support and help with tasks such as getting groceries or a virtual visit with your children. Access Community Services if appropriate (some are listed below). 

There are many things you can do to support your child

Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.

Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.

Limit your family‘s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

TRY to keep up with regular routines. While schools are closed create a schedule of learning activities as well as fun and relaxing activities. 
Full Image

Get moving!

-  Get outside whenever possible

-  Daily dance party whenever, wherever

-  YThrive Grow offers 15 minute low impact 
   workouts for 8-13 year olds 
-  PE with Joe 

Have some fun!

-  Art lessons 

-  Remember board games!

-  Bake some cookies

-  Cupcake decorating contest

-  Mindfulness activities 
yd2 yd2 yd2
 Community Services

Mental and Physical Health Resources for Families: 

IMCRT (Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team):  

Individuals in crisis can call the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-484-3888 and the staff will support and offer crisis intervention options.  

Pediatric Mental Health Services VGH: 

Please call the VGH switchboard at 250-727-4212 and ask for the Crisis Team if you feel your child (under 17) is at the point of needing to come to ER for mental health reasons.  Staff would like to plan ahead, to avoid close physical contact if at all possible.  

Mental Health Services Jubilee: 

Please call the Jubille switchboard at and ask for the Crisis Team if you are feeling your child (17 and over) is at the point of needing to come to ER for mental health reasons.  Staff would like to plan ahead, to avoid close physical contact if at all possible.

Youth Empowerment Society:

All outreach workers are maintaining contact with youth through video conferencing, text  and phone.  The Alliance Club is open 12 - 6pm, Monday through Thursday.  They are taking new referrals, but no face to face meetings. Detox is still available in a modified capacity.  Kiwanis Youth Shelter is still accepting 24 hour intake.

Neighbourhood Houses: 

All Neighbourhood Houses are only offering essential services and have limited staff on site.  They ask that you call first, so that safe physical space can be maintained.
Burnside Gorge: 250-388-5251
Saanich: 250-360-1148
Fairfield Gonzales:  250-382-4604
James Bay: 250-388-7844
Quadra:  250-388-7696
Esquimalt:  250-385-2635
Fernwood:  250-381-1552

Island Sexual Health: 

M-F from 9 - 4pm: Offering phone/video access to Dr/nurses and sexual health services.  Pleae call ahead for an appointment time at 250-592-3479, or text a sexual health question to 250-812-9374

The Foundry:

M - F phones are answered at 10:30am as they work to best serve youth.   There are limited in-person interactions and they are moving towards telehealth and phone communication.  Services still offered include communication with: Doctors, Nurses, Counselling, Peer Support and Outreach.  

Child and Youth Mental Health: 

Victoria, Saanich and Aboriginal Child and Youth Mental Health are still accepting referrals and conducting intakes (by phone), and continue to work with current clients and families by phone, email, and soon via Skype Business.  At the moment, all groups are postponed.


Discovery Services is still supporting clients but through video, texting and phone.  They are still accepting new referrals.  Families can directly refer or can contact the school counsellor.

Ministry of Children and Families:

The Ministry of Children and Families continue to provide support to families, although the medium may be by phone or online,  and they  will continue to respond to protection concerns.  Please call Centralized Screening at 1-800-663-9122 if you think a child or youth is being abused.

Victoria Native Friendship Centre:

Essential services will continue including daycare, shelter, and homelessness outreach.  Plans are also being made for food hampers for community members connected to a program who may struggle during our time of reduced service.  If you require food supports, or want to confirm if the service you access available, please contact your VNFC Outreach/Support Worker or reception:

Needs2 Suicide Prevention Education and Support:

NEEDS2 offers support and crisis response for youth through live chat, text, discussion forums, and through Youth talk email counselling.  Chat hours are between 6 pm and midnight.  Call 250-386-6328 or visit
 Learning Resources

 Learning Resources for Students with Complex Needs

Food Resources for Families 

The following sites are providing food resources; please call for specific times and services:
Salvation Army ARC250-384-3396
Stan Hagen Centre250-386-8521
Living Edge250-383-8915
St Vincent de Paul:  250-382-0712
9-10 Club778-440-7687
Rainbow Kitchen250-384-2069
Mustard Seed250-953-1575
Full Image
We acknowledge that much of the content from this document is extracted from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
Full Image