#COVID19 and ASSIST

Amid the noise and confusion around the spread of #COVID19 and extreme stock market plunges, let’s take a moment to be grateful that we live in a country with excellent health care and an abundant food supply. We are not under mandatory containment or quarantine, and we can all pull together to help flatten the curve of virus infection to reduce overwhelming our health care system. Let’s just take a deep calming breath and use good judgment and good hygiene.

This is a stressful time for everyone in our communities as we take steps to ensure we can work from home and still help our firms or employers to carry out essential tasks. Fear of illness is normal and those of us who are low risk are concerned for others in our circles who are not.

Assist is taking steps to ensure that lawyers, articling students, law students and dependent members of their families will continue to have access to psychological counselling and peer support.

Psychological Counselling

Counselling by registered psychologists continues to be available. While our confidential professional counselling services program generally involves face-to-face counselling, we will be making Skype or telephone counselling sessions available to people who are unable to come to appointments in person. You can continue to book appointments by calling 1-877-498-6898.

If you have any of the symptoms of COVID 19 or are unfeeling unwell, please do not come to the psychologist’s office but instead request to have your session via Skype or telephone. This can be arranged by calling 1-877-498-6898. If you are unable to attend your appointment because you are ill, we will not count a “no-show” appointment towards your covered number of sessions, but you need to call us to let us know that this is the case.

For law students who see one of our Psychologists in Residence at the two Alberta law schools, you will be able to continue your counselling either at the counsellor’s office or via Skype or telephone if the universities close. If you need to change an appointment or find out the best way to attend your appointment, call 1-877-498-6898.

Assist offers 24/7 Crisis Counselling. We will continue to offer this service during office closures. We have a number of psychologists who can handle the crisis calls, so this service does not depend on the health of any one individual. If you need to access crisis counselling after hours, dial 1-877-498-6898 and follow the prompts.

Peer Support and Other Programs

Assist’s staff are equipped to work from home, so please call us at the Calgary office at 1-877-737-5508 for peer support and education and awareness activities or call our counselling services line at 1-877-498-6898. Your calls will be forwarded to the appropriate person.

We will assess whether individual activities can proceed but can advise that at this point:

  • Edmonton yoga is currently suspended indefinitely. We will advise when the class can resume.
  • Calgary yoga will not be held on Wednesday, March 18th. We will reassess the viability of continuing the class for subsequent weeks on a week-by-week basis.
  • Red Mug Pop Up Peer Support (“PUPS”) coffee circles will continue as scheduled. Watch our social media for scheduled dates and locations.
  • Peer Support Training in Calgary is scheduled for April 4th. We hope to be able to run this session but will confirm as we get closer to the event.
  • Assist’s Annual General Meeting is set for April 15, 2020. This meeting must be held before April 30th due to requirements in the Societies Act (Alberta) so we do not anticipate moving it.
  • Peer Support Training in Edmonton is set for June 13, 2020.

Working from home can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation and can lead to unhealthy rumination. You can always call Eileen or Loraine at Assist to connect and chat. We can help connect you to groups and activities that may help you to feel a sense of community. You can reach Eileen, our Program Coordinator, at 403-571-1063 and Loraine, our Executive Director, at 403-571-1066.

Researchers in the field of positive psychologist postulate that we need three positive emotions for every negative emotion. While subsequent research questioned the mathematics behind the three to one ratio, it is generally understood that experiencing positive emotions to counteract the negativity that we encounter makes sense. So how do we go about finding these positive emotions?

First, express gratitude in whatever way works for you.

Secondly, do acts of service, altruism and kindness to others.

Thirdly, connect to the people and activities that you enjoy.

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Right now, the media and conversations are around #COVID19, a physical disease that we want to contain. While our focus is drawn to this illness, we need to remember that we must not neglect our mental health. Assist is here for you.