City of Toronto recognizes importance of mental health in ongoing fight against COVID-19

The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19. Today, Mayor John Tory and Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa provided an update on the City’s measures to combat the resurgence of the virus in Toronto and reminded residents of available mental health supports.

Since the start of the pandemic there have been a total of 83,935 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 502 new cases today. There are 520 people hospitalized. In total, 74,061 people have recovered from COVID-19. To date, there have been 2,341 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform at www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/covid-19-status-of-cases-in-toronto/.

Many people may feel sad, stressed, anxious, confused, scared or angry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are normal and common responses to unexpected or stressful situations. Tomorrow is Bell Let’s Talk Day – an annual reminder of the importance of mental health and reaching out to loved ones, something particularly important as people continue to stay home to keep family and friends safe.

In April 2020, the City launched the Mental Health Support Strategy, partnering with 13 key mental health service providers to ensure that mental health support services are well-integrated and that Toronto residents are aware of the free support services that are available to them. Through the strategy, residents can access free mental health support from the safety of their own homes through text, online or by phone by simply calling 2-1-1. This free service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Services are available for children and youth, seniors, frontline workers and those with intersectional identities, such as Indigenous, Black, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S Torontonians who are struggling.

Anyone feeling lonely, isolated, anxious or depressed or knows someone who is struggling during this pandemic is strongly encouraged to reach out for help. It’s free, safe, and available for all who need it. From April 27 to January 9, almost 110,500 Torontonians have either called, texted or sent an online message for support to access mental health services. Of those who reached out, more than 100,000 people have received direct mental health support and more than 10,300 people were referred directly to mental health partners for additional support. For those looking for further support, there is a mental health section on toronto.ca/covid-19 that is full of helpful advice and resources: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-mental-health-resources/.

It remains imperative that all people in the city respect COVID-19 orders and stay home as much as possible to save lives by reducing opportunities for COVID-19 to spread. Please review the City’s simple “Dos” and “Don’ts” guide for recommended and mandatory public health measures. The guide communicates some of what is and what is not, permitted under the provincial Lockdown Regulation that remains in effect and the new stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The guide can be found at www.toronto.ca/lockdownguide.

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