Mental Healthcare Tips from Our Experts

Last week we celebrated Bell Let’s Talk Day – a day to support and raise funds for mental health care across Canada. Now, more than ever, we need to take care of our own mental health and those around us – so we asked members of our amazing QCH Mental Health team how they take care of their own mental health. 

Meet some members of our QCH Mental Health team. Together with their colleagues, they work tirelessly each and every day to ensure our patients get the support and help they need. However, to be there for our patients and community, they also need to take care of their own mental health.

Here are some of their personal tips:

“Dedicate time each day to something you enjoy.  Feeling balanced is important for me and I derive that mostly from committing a portion of each day for time outdoors: walking my dog through our neighborhood, strolling through the hiking trails here in Ottawa, or hiking the East Coast Trail (when in Newfoundland) all provide me with opportunity to feel the benefits of fresh air and sunlight.” – Raeline McGrath, QCH Clinical Director, Mental Health and Geriatrics 

“To take care of my own mental health, I do my best to get out walking every day.  Fresh air and movement are so important for maintaining my wellness and managing stress.  I also talk to my twin sister on a regular basis and I can reach out to her any time I need extra support.” – Julie Van Der Meulen, QCH Occupational Therapist, Mental Health 

“I try to lay a foundation for mental health by prioritizing my sleep, eating well, starting the day with an energy boosting breakfast, and moving my body every day – even if it’s a lunchtime walk around the hospital. A bonus is a socially distanced outdoor activity once a week that positively impacts my mental health. Winter favourites have been geocaching, cross country skiing or snowshoeing.” – Shannon Young, QCH Recreation Therapist, Mental Health

“I try to incorporate exercise and the outdoors on a regular basis. For example, going for a walk in nature with my dogs or skating.”  – Lori Kartes, QCH Social Worker, Outpatient Mental Health 

“I use Ujjayi breathing (a.k.a. Darth Vader breathing) throughout the day if I’m feeling stressed and to help me fall asleep at night.” – Dr. Marion Malone, QCH Outpatient Psychiatrist, Mental Health 

The pandemic has created a lot of change. It is normal to be uncertain, anxious, or feel isolated. In addition to this personal advice from our experts, we want to remind you that we are here for you. Our QCH Mental Health team has also created a page with advice and resources to help you and your loved ones cope during COVID-19.

Thanks to YOU, our amazing community of donors, a staggering $5.8 million has been raised for the HOPES RISING campaign, in support of a renovated Mental Health unit, and improved emergency care for people in a mental health crisis at QCH. Plans are underway for these extensive renovations to begin over the coming months.

HOPES RISING campaign.

QCH Mental Health Program.