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A Message from our JMCC Social Workers

March 27, 2020

JMCC Social Workers: Spencer and Katie

If you or your child are feeling anxious or overwhelmed with current events, or if you need help accessing resources for your child or family at this time, our JMCC social workers are here to help! Please call or email Spencer or Katie using the contact information listed below or contact your child’s therapist if you would like to speak with one of our social workers. There are also many other helpful resources for families in our community and we have included more information on these below.

Contact Spencer Arpino
P: 519-252-7281 ext. 235
Contact Katie Harris
P: 519-252-7281 ext. 531

During this time, there are a number of things that we can do to ensure that we are looking after our mental health. While current events may make it a bit more difficult to engage in some of the activities we are used to, there are still things that you can do. It can be helpful to separate our well-being into different areas such as physical engagement, sleep patterns, self-care, cognition, coping strategies, social engagement, and overall health.

Helpful Strategies: 
Physical Engagement: While social distancing is currently very important, our bodies still need physical activity. Movement and exercise are great resources to turn to when feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Spending time outside or in nature can benefit both physical and mental health and decrease symptoms of anxiety. Take time each day to go for a walk or a run, schedule exercise into your daily routine, or even go outside to play catch in your backyard. Our recreation therapist, Mallory Reiner, put together a list of activities for families, including a nature scavenger hunt and live-streaming family yoga. Check it out on our website.

Here are a couple of other links that families can use for coming up with activities to do at home: Strategies for Keeping a Consistent Sleep Routine: When life circumstances are unpredictable, keeping a consistent routine can be very helpful in reducing anxiety and relieving stress. Going to sleep and waking up at your typical time can help to maintain a consistent routine. With schools and other institutions closed it may be difficult to achieve this goal but there are strategies to ensure we maintain a stable sleep routine. Setting alarms on phones to signal when children and youth should be going to bed and when they should be waking up can help with this. In addition, making a visual schedule of a child’s day may assist children in following a routine and also provide them with a sense of predictability. There are other strategies available to parents to ensure they are able to regulate their children’s sleep patterns such as:
  • Avoiding the use of videogames and tablets/smart phone for 1 to 2 hours before bed
  • Scheduling talks with children around bedtime (10-15mintues) to debrief about their day
  • Avoiding caffeinated foods and drinks before bed
  • Ensuring children are able to engage in an appropriate amount of physical activity throughout their day  
  • Establishing set routines will also help to ease the transition to normal schedules once current restrictions are lifted.
Tips for supporting a Child’s Sleep Routine: Self Care: Self care will look different from one individual to the next. For some it will be reading a book, walking their dog, engaging in arts and crafts, bubble baths, calling a friend or doing yoga. Some of our self care activities can be affected by social distancing due to lack of childcare or respite support, the closing of recreational facilities, and school stoppages etc. It is important to remember that self care is not always something that has to be a solitary activity. For instance, a board game night can be scheduled with loved ones in the home or even story time.

Spencer & Katie’s Thoughts: Yes it is true, we don’t have all of the information about COVID-19. We don’t know how long we have to participate in social distancing and we do not know how long it will take for the virus to pass but rather than focusing on what we don’t know, let’s focus on what we do know! We know there are plenty of grocery stores open, enough toilet paper to go around and many medical professionals working day in and day out to support everyone through this tough time. It’s important that through the duration of isolation we look and obtain the facts about what is happening throughout our community. It is also important to try to focus on what you can control and not what you can’t. We can control how often we leave our homes and how much we wash our hands.  We can control how we choose to spend our time while social distancing. This time is a great opportunity for you to relax and enjoy the halt of many life obligations.  Lastly, don’t look too far ahead.  Engage in thinking about tomorrow or the next few days. Thinking too far in advanced can cause unnecessary stress.

Coping Strategies: There are many ways to calm your mind and body when we are undergoing stress. Here are some useful coping strategies to help you relax:
  • Exercise
  • Go outside for a walk (while keeping your distance from your neighbors)
  • Do yoga
  • Use a relaxation app
  • Talk to your loved ones over the phone or through FaceTime
  • Write a list of all things that you are grateful for
  • Practice breathing exercises
  • Meditate
  • Journal
  • Take a bath
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Pray
  • Play with your pets
  • Look through old photo albums
  • Read a book
  • Listen to music
  • Play a board game
  • Watch a movie
  • Paint or draw
  • Clean out a closet
  • Do chores
  • Check your email
  • Develop a blog
  • Play a board game with your kids
The Centre for Addiction & Mental Health put together a list of coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check it out!

Health: You and your child’s mental and physical wellbeing are important as our community gets through this crisis. For parents of children who are clients of JMCC it is important to reach out to your medical team to ensure you have all of the resources you need for your child. Ensure you have enough of your child’s daily medications and medical supplies. This way you can lessen the need to leave the house. It may be necessary to push back appointments if you are able to re-schedule them at a later time. Please note, all JMCC staff are working from home and have access to their email and their voicemail. If you have any questions related to your clients therapy and support needs, please reach out to them and they will be in contact with you as soon as they can.

Find out information about COVID-19 from reliable resources. It is important to limit how much you are checking the resources. Helpful Community Resources: If you are wanting to access any of the services below please call them to see if their hours or services have changed due to the COVID-19 crisis

Kids Help Phone
Phone number: 1-800-668-6868
This a 24-7 over the phone national service who provides counselling support via text, over the phone or directly through their website.  When utilizing this service you will be speaking to a professional counsellor about whatever is on your mind. Counsellors are trained to talk about any problem that you may be encountering. During counselling, they may ask you questions to help you learn more about your situation. A counsellor will work with you to come up with solutions or next steps together. Counsellors are always here to listen to you.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
Crisis Line: 519-973-4435

This is a 24-7 over the phone local service that provides crisis support. At any point if you are feeling that you need support from a local professional call this number and you will receive support as needed.

Hotel Dieu Community Crisis Centre
Crisis Line: 519- 973-4435
Walk-in Service:  Community Crisis Centre within the transitional Stability Centre (744 Ouellette Ave- 8am-8pm)

This is a 24-7 community response service for individuals who are 16 years of age and older who are experiencing acute mental health and/or psych-social crisis may require immediate assessment, psychosocial intervention, medical intervention and support.

Regional Children’s Centre (RCC) Walk-In Counselling Clinic temporarily moves to telephone services during COVID-19 RCC offers quick access to mental health services for children and youth up to age 18.  No appointment or referral necessary.
Call 519-257 KIDS
Hours: Mon. – Thurs. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. & Fri.  8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

New Windsor-Essex Food Helpline provides emergency food assistance to people in need
Our Community has set up the Windsor-Essex Food Helpline (WEFH) to help vulnerable people in the community access emergency food support.  The WEFH is a temporary helpline set up to provide safe and responsive support to people who need food assistance, including low-income families, and seniors who are self-isolating or require access to prepared meals. The Helpline will provide information on open food bank locations or food hubs offering drive-thru or walk-through pick ups of food and/or grocery gift cards. People can also call the Helpline to request a grocery gift card be mailed to them or request a food hamper or prepared meal be safely delivered to their home.
The helpline will operate Monday to Friday from 8:30 am – 8:30 pm and is available in both English and French. There is also an interpretation service available for other languages. To access the helpline, call (888) 488-1578. Please note the Windsor-Essex Food Helpline will be closed on Good Friday (April 10) and Easter Monday (April 13). Information on the Helpline services being offered can also be accessed at

Individuals and organizations wishing to volunteer to deliver food to vulnerable residents can call (519) 259-6177 or email  United Way is leading the recruitment, screening and training of volunteers.

Food banks are still in need of food donations. If you are unable to make a food donation, donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund at

Financial Resources: Employment Insurance and CODVID-19 Related Benefits
Employment Insurance: Employment Insurance (EI) provides benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can't find a new job. Always apply for EI benefits as soon as you stop working. You can apply for benefits even if you have not yet received your Record of Employment (ROE). If you delay filing your claim for benefits for more than four weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits. Visit the website
Emergency Support Benefit: See link below if you have been laid off or your hours or work have been reduced but you are not eligible for Employment Insurance Benefits.
  • Emergency Insurance Sickness Benefit: See link below if you have no paid sick leave and you are quarantined or sick.
  • Child Care benefits: The government has increased the Child Care Benefit. See link.
  • Tax Deadline: The deadline to file taxes is now pushed back until June 1st. See link below.
  • Mortgage Support: The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements. See link below for more information.
If one or more of the resources above interest, please visit this website: COVID-19 Related Benefits  

Ontario Government Support: The Ontario government is offering direct financial support to parents while Ontario schools and child care centres remain closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read the news release for more information. To apply, visit:

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