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Coronavirus: Saskatchewan investing in mental health services

The Saskatchewan government is investing an additional $33 million into mental health services to provide extra support during COVID-19.
The Saskatchewan government is investing an additional $33 million into mental health services to provide extra support during COVID-19. Getty Images

The Saskatchewan government is supporting mental health services in the province amid COVID-19.

The province is investing a total of $435 million in their budget.

“Living through this uncertain and distressing time has caused some level of worry for us all. Just as people should be caring for their physical health during this pandemic, it’s important to pay attention to our mental health, too,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe donating his pay increase to charities amid COVID-19 pandemic

“Whether you’re coping with the loneliness of self-isolation, concerned about the health of your loved ones or worried about what the future may hold, there are mental health supports available to help you through this difficult time.”

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All Saskatchewan Health Authority mental health inpatient units continue to be open to adults, children and youth, while community mental sites remain open although most services are offered by phone.

Group-based services in the province have been discontinued. However, clients and patients are being contacted by phone.

Phone lines supporting those with mental health are still operating such as HealthLine 811 which is available 24/7.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Saskatchewan announces pandemic response for social services

In partnership with the SHA, Family Service Saskatchewan is offering support by phone for its 23 mental health walk-in clinics across the province.

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Other mental health resources include:

READ MORE: SHA creating guidelines so healthcare system can triage coronavirus patients

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Here are some other things the province is doing to address mental health during the pandemic.

  • The Ministry of Education continues to offer Mental Health Capacity Building support for staff and students in five schools during school closures, through online and social media platforms.
  • Ministry of Social Services staff are supporting clients, service providers and Approved Private Service Homes.  All CBO agencies continue to offer counselling by phone or virtual technology.
  • Indigenous Services Canada Mental Health Therapists are available by phone or Telehealth to residents of First Nations communities.

Helping others in your community

The province is also encouraging residents to provide help within their respective communities to friends, neighbours or family who need assistance whether it is picking up groceries or other supplies.

Moe says it’s still important to practice social distancing while helping others.

Pop quiz! How social distancing savvy are you?
Pop quiz! How social distancing savvy are you?

“To stay healthy mentally, we all need to connect with our friends and family – but safely, by phone or online as much as possible,” Moe said.  “That’s the best way we can protect ourselves and each other.”

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For more information regarding mental health supports during COVID-19 visit the Saskatchewan website. Public inquires can be sent to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

READ MORE: Leaked SHA document shows worst-case scenario outcome of coronavirus in Saskatchewan

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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