On the waitlist? There are still things you can do!

 In Blog, Psychological Services

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, waiting lists for mental health care are moving slower than usual. Here are some tips to help you through your waiting time.

Explore Internet Resources

Look for resources from reputable organizations that have research evidence to support their claims. Here are some examples:

Try Self-Help Books

There are many excellent self-help books out there that can get you started on skills for mental health. Make sure you find a book from a reliable source that has evidence-based information.

    • For children, try browsing Magination Press: https://www.apa.org/pubs/magination. There are free downloadable resources to help children cope with COVID19. The “What To Do Guides for Kids” series is one that I have found particularly useful.
    • For adults, there are many helpful resources out there. Here are some titles to get you started:
      • “Mind Over Mood: Second Edition” by Dennis Greenberger & Christine A. Padesky (and others) is a workbook to help with emotional distress (e.g., depression, anxiety, and/or anger) based in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
      • “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life” by Steven Hayes is a workbook based in Acceptance in Commitment Therapy. “As you work through this book, you’ll learn to let go of your struggle against pain, assess your values, and then commit to acting in ways that further those values.”
      • “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself” by Kristen Neff, and “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion” by Christopher Germer are two good books about self-compassion that are also available in audiobook format.
      • Books on mindfulness can also be helpful, such as “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach or “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
      • “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle” by Emily and Amelia Nagoski is a book written for women about coping with stress.

Attend to your Overall Health

    • Meditate! Even just a few minutes per day can make a big difference. Try downloading an app (like free https://insighttimer.com/) to guide you and help you build the habit.
    • Commit to at least one physical activity each day. This can be a walk around the block, some stretches/yoga, or a fun workout video from Youtube. Even if it’s just a small amount of activity, it can contribute greatly to your sense of well-being.
    • Attend to your diet and sleep. Even small improvements in these areas can make a big impact on mood.
    • Find safe ways to connect with others and your spirituality. Write a postcard. Send a text. Make a phone call. Say a prayer. Join a virtual gathering.

Reach out to Community Supports

    • Contact Here 24/7 to access addictions, mental health, and crisis services provided by agencies across Waterloo/Wellington. You can explore their webpage (https://here247.ca/) or call the helpline any time: 1-844-437-3247 (HERE247).
    • Ask your physician’s office if they have supports available. Many family health teams have mental health professionals at their offices.
    • Kids Help Phone (https://kidshelpphone.ca/) has phone and text support for youth.
    • There are lots of other places to reach out to in the community including faith-based organizations and agencies supported by the United Way. See https://unitedwayguelph.com/agencies-we-support/ for a list of agencies in the area, such as ARCH for Transgender Health, Immigrant Services, Women in Crisis, and more.
    • If you or someone else is in an emergency situation, call 911 or visit the Emergency Room at your local hospital.

Follow-up if Needed.

    • It is okay to follow-up to ask where you are on the waiting list.
    • If you need services, try to get on a waiting list (or two!) as soon as possible: Don’t delay!

It is hard to wait for mental health services and we all wish that the wait times were shorter. Rest assured, we are doing our best to get through our waiting list as quickly as possible while working to protect everyone’s health through this pandemic. I hope that these resources can help you and your family through the wait.

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