FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brampton, ON (October 5, 2021): – In response to COVID-19, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Peel Dufferin was forced to temporarily limit access to its physical locations to clients and transition staff to remote working to meet health and safety guidelines. With a $150,000 Resilient Communities Fund grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation, over 12 months, to recover from impacts of COVID-19, the organization made much needed renovations, installations, and safety upgrades.
“Non-profit organizations like the CMHA Peel Dufferin are a crucial and valued part of our community, especially here in Brampton,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, President of the Treasury Board of Ontario and Member of Provincial Parliament for Brampton South “Countless people rely on their services every day, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have continued to support the mental health of our residents.”
While CMHA Peel Dufferin’s staff were well prepared to work remotely, and business functions continued relatively uninterrupted, the same was not true for clients struggling with mental health and addictions. Since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, calls to our 24/7 crisis phone line increased by 48% and calls to our intake line increased by 37%.
According to CMHA National, many Ontarians (45%) reported a decline in their mental health since the onset of the pandemic. Ontarians also reported they have increased their screen time (60%), are consuming more food (31%), are doing more online shopping for things they don’t need (18%) and are using more substances like drugs and alcohol due to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic (17%).
Isolation, economic insecurity, and stress are taking a toll on everyone’s mental health and without regular face-to-face interaction in a supportive environment, clients are struggling even more. Staff too, report difficulty engaging certain clients over the phone and a reduction in their ability to provide appropriate support and referrals.
“In July 2020, we engaged the services of an Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Consultant to make our offices safer. We realized that to protect everyone during the pandemic, we had to make substantial changes to our program space and our client meeting rooms. As a result of funding received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we were able to make the changes that allowed us to continue to see clients onsite, and for this we are very thankful,” said David Smith, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association Peel Dufferin.
“The funds allowed us to alter the workplace layout to ensure two metres is kept between each worker and client and reconfigure spaces for a one-way flow of traffic including the construction of a new wall. This specifically related to a section of our organization known as Recovery West. Recovery West is a drop-in day-use facility serving some of our highest need clients – those who require daily, or near-daily, support from staff and peers to maintain their mental health. Spaces within the facility are used for group programs, one-on-one meetings with case workers and counsellors, vocational training, access to our newly updated computer lab, healthy meals and snacks, and recreation and social connection with peers. The changes were invaluable for continuing to support mental health in our community during this time,” he added.
Canadian Mental Health Association Peel Dufferin offers services to youth and adults experiencing an addictions or mental health crisis, seniors with dementia, those navigating the court systems, people who are homeless or facing imminent homelessness, and family and caregivers. More information at www.cmhapeeldufferin.ca.
CMHA Peel Dufferin champions good mental health for everyone and supports the full participation of those with mental illness and addictions in the life of the community.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Visit otf.ca to learn more.
For more information or to reach a spokesperson, please contact:Siobhan Kukolic Communications Officer (416) 521-5387