Last updated: May 22, 2020 at 9:18 a.m.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone’s ability to cope with stress. Managing stress is more difficult when we are taken out of our regular routines, dealing with a constantly changing situation and distanced from our usual supports. COVID-19 has created new life stressors and made existing ones even more intense.

tips for mental health

  • Have a routine. Structure your day and maintain positive habits.
  • Take deep breaths. Simple breathing exercises can help ease stress. Try breathing in deeply, counting to three, hold for a count of three, and then slowly breathe out, counting to three.
  • Call or virtually connect with loved ones. Lean on each other for support.
  • Exercise, dance and have fun. Blow off steam and boost endorphins.
  • Let in the sun. Open windows. Sunlight can improve your mood.
  • Help othersVolunteer to pick up groceries or walk the dog for a neighbour who is self-isolating. Helping someone else can make you feel good.
  • Stay informed. Check credible sources of information for updates but take breaks when needed. Taking in the news all day can be draining. Unplug for a bit and recharge – listen to music, meditate, read or listen to a podcast instead.
  • Look for the positives. Share inspirational stories of people helping one another.
  • Engage your brain. Do a word search, Sudoku, jigsaw or crossword puzzle.
  • Seek help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out. Community help is available.

There are free online mental health programs and interactive tools that can support healthy coping during COVID-19.

This list of mental health apps is for information only and should not be considered a recommendation or endorsement by the City of Toronto. These apps are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider. Call a distress service if you are in crisis or 911 in cases of emergency.

  • Big White Wall: Anonymous online education and discussion platform offering mental health support
  • Bounce Back Ontario: Guided self-help program using workbooks, with phone coaching support
  • Starling Minds – COVID Mental Health Program: Designed to help users combat the stress, anxiety, and worry related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health during COVID-19: Offered by the University of Toronto, this short beginner course (1 hour per week/ 4 weeks) provides guidance on handling anxiety and isolation during COVID-19.
  • Mind Your Mind: Mental health website with interactive tools and resources to build capacity and resilience for youth and young adults.
  • Stronger Minds by Beacon: A free digital program to support mental well-being through the COVID-19 crisis.
  • WellCan: A virtual hub for mental health resources and tools to help Canadians maintain positive mental, physical, social and financial health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Wellness Together Canada: Access to online resources, tools, apps and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals.

This list of mental health apps is for information only and should not be considered a recommendation or endorsement by the City of Toronto. These apps are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider. Call a distress service if you are in crisis or 911 in cases of emergency.

App Description Android Apple
Self-Help for Anxiety Management This app provides a range of self-help methods that work to reduce anxiety. Ways to challenge anxiety provoking thoughts are explained, and ways to incorporate relaxation techniques to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety are reviewed. Android Apple
Stop Panic & Anxiety

Self-Help

This app will assist you in managing symptoms of panic, and will help you develop skills to challenge fearful thinking. Android
7 Cups Anxiety &

Stress Chat

Get free anonymous emotional support and counseling on-demand from trained active listeners and therapists. Android Apple
Relax Lite: Stress & Anxiety Relief This app provides techniques to help manage anxiety, including calming audio sessions, evaluating thinking patterns, identifying triggers and tracking thoughts and improvements. Apple
MindShift CBT

Anxiety Canada

MindShift uses scientifically proven strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety. Android Apple
MoodPath

Depression & Anxiety

Moodpath is your personalized mental health companion and supports you in phases of stress, depression, and anxiety. Android Apple
Headspace This app will review meditation and mindfulness exercises that will help reduce feelings of stress. Android Apple
Calm App Calm is an app to assist with Sleep, Meditation and Relaxation. Provides support and guidance to experience better sleep, lower stress, and less anxiety. Android Apple
MoodTools

Depression Aid

This app uses the concept of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help you challenge the inaccurate thoughts which may be playing a role in your depression. The app also suggests helpful behaviours that may work to reduce the intensity of your distressing emotions. Android Apple
Depression CBT

Self-Help Guide

This app uses the concept of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help you challenge the inaccurate thoughts which may be playing a role in your depression. The app also suggests helpful behaviours that may work to reduce the intensity of your distressing emotions. Android
Sleep Support

CBT-I Coach

This app uses the theory behind Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia. It teaches users to develop positive sleep routines, and to improve sleep environments. It also reviews strategies proven to improve sleep and reduce symptoms of insomnia. Android Apple
PTSD Coach Canada This app provides information about PTSD, allows you to track symptoms, and suggests easy-to-use tools to help you handle stress symptoms. Android Apple
CBT Thought Diary Do you feel like you’re stressed, anxious, sad, frustrated, or unmotivated? The centerpiece of cognitive-behavioral therapy is changing your emotions by identifying negative and distorted thinking patterns. With a thought diary, you can document your negative emotions, analyze flaws in your thinking, and re-evaluate your thoughts. It may even help you recognize ways to deal with your negative behaviors and emotions. Android Apple
Breethe:

Meditation & Sleep

This app provides guided mediations that help to reduce feelings of stress and promote relaxation. Apple

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Toronto residents have been asked to stay home and to go out only for essentials. For some people, however, home isn’t a safe place due to intimate partner violence as well as child and elder abuse.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Intimate Partner Violence

There are a variety of services available to support people experiencing intimate partner violence. In addition, there are specific services for Indigenous women and French speaking women who are experiencing violence.

For more information:

Elder Abuse

The Seniors Safety Line provides information, referrals, and 24/7 support to seniors suffering abuse, including financial, physical, sexual, mental abuse and neglect. Find out more about elder abuse information and services.

Child Abuse

Find out how to get help and stay safe.

The Kids Help Phone provides children and youth with professional counselling 24/7.

Children experiencing abuse can also call child protection services. There are four agencies in Toronto:

Many Toronto residents find themselves in financial hardship because of COVID-19. Find out more about COVID-19 income supports to help Toronto residents get back on their feet.

Find out about different food access programs available to Toronto residents during COVID-19:

Toronto residents needing assistance with finding local food banks, food delivery and prepared meals can call 211 or visit 211toronto.ca for information on food programs

There are a variety of supports for tenants and property owners to minimize the impact of COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 state of emergency, no new evictions can be started. Learn more about how the eviction process has changed.

If your landlord has locked you out of your unit, or is threatening to lock you out, call the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit at 416-585-7214 or get legal advice from your local community legal clinic.

Read more about your legal rights as a tenant during COVID-19.