May 19, 2024

Resources for Mental Health – A Wellness Guide for YMM Parents during the Pandemic

By on October 15, 2020 0 507 Views

You might not know the resources that are available to you – in your community or online. But in 2020, help can be a call, click, or even text away. YMM Parent wants to help parents navigate the milieu of options to support them and other parents in their networks; because to continue to be there for your children during the pandemic, you also need to engage in self-love and self-care.

As a parent, taking a proactive approach to mental health may never be as important. Can any parent help their children if they are struggling themselves? The best way to be there and support your children’s mental health can often be by checking in on yourself first.

It’s normal and natural to feel the effects of increased stress from pandemics, fires and floods. Parents have been hit harshly by the COVID-19 pandemic in the last few months, and our community is still recovering from the stresses of major natural disasters in recent months and years.

As we continue to navigate this health crisis, we ask parents to do a mental health check-in with themselves and your parent friends. Parents of Wood Buffalo region should not have to feel alone, or without, during this continued pandemic because help is close to home.

The resources found here will help parents navigate the mental health assets available to support and will showcase the host of programs, services, and resources for families and their wellness in Fort McMurray and our surrounding communities.

Ways to promote wellness, relaxation and destressing:

  • Good diet and nutrition, including healthy varieties and low intake of stimulants (coffee/tobacco) and substances (beer/wine/cannabis).
  • Physical activity/recreation and exercise.
  • Having a good network with regular communications, including phone or video chats with family and friends regularly during social distancing and periods of isolation.
  • Spending time in nature, trails, parks, and picnics alone, as a couple, and with family
  • Spending more time at home gives you a chance to make it your sanctuary; clean, redecorate, declutter/make space for working/studying at home.
  • Deep breathing, mindful exercises, meditation, and yoga.
  • Seeking support if you cannot find a way to distress and need help dealing with stress, anxiety, depression.



Get the latest COVID-19 updates from AHS at

Information on COVID-19 and mental health services retrievable at:

You will find great fact sheets on topics including:

  • Coping and Connection for Children & Families During COVID-19 (AHS)
  • Coping at Home for Families During COVID-19 – Activity Resource (AHS)
  • COVID-19 & Your Mental Health (AHS)
  • Positive Steps for Your Mental Wellbeing (AHS)
  • Practical & Emotional Preparedness for a Pandemic (AHS)
  • Mental Health & Coping with COVID-19 (CDC)
  • Mobile Tools to Promote Mental Wellness (AHS)
  • Seniors Wellness in Challenging Times (AHS)
  • Taking Charge of What You Can: A COVID-19 Toolkit (AHS)
  • Talking with Children about COVID-19 (CDC)
  • Talking with Children During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (SAMHSA)
  • Take Control of Your Mental Wellbeing (AHS)
  • Get Naloxone

Source: Alberta Health Services, September 2020



Fort McMurray Catholic School Division

The website for the RMCSD has a comprehensive Google document with everything you need to know about 2020/2012 re-entry. Parents can also find COVID-19 Information info from Alberta Education for parents on Getting ready for 2020-21 school year links to AHS Information- How to Speak with Children About COVID-19 and other health information resources.

Fort McMurray Public School Division

This website has a truck load of resources for parents on COVID-19 and Your Mental Health sheet and a link to Get Yourself Off the Hook’. Also you can find advice for Teachers and Parents During COVID-19 and other links for ideas to support development and play at home during COVID. You can also connect to the Virtual Parent Hangout Sessions, Mental Health Resources for Parents, Centre for Online Mental Health Supports Online Webinars, Leader in Me Resources for Parents and find fact sheets on, Mental Health Considerations During COVID-19 and Coping and Connection for Children and Families During COVID-19



  • Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo COVID-19 Updates:
  • World Health Organization: Resources available including facts sheets, myth busters and mask information. Find more at:
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN): Information on programs and resources can be found online at



Wood Buffalo Addiction and Mental Health
339 Powder Drive, Ph. 780.793.8360

Health services via walk-in or by appointment including; counselling and therapy, addictions assessment and counselling, referrals to treatment centres, group programs like adult skills, adult information series, community outreach and presentations.

Mental Health Services Northern Lights Hospital
7 Hospital Street, Ph. 780.791.6194

Emergency and Crisis support for individuals and families with a mental health crisis.

Some Other Solutions
8706 Franklin Avenue, Ph, 780-743.8605

A trusted community resource mental wellness in Northern Alberta with professional counselling services, grief and trauma support, family counselling and mentorship programs and a 24/7 crisis line.

Legacy Counselling Centre
160 Dickins Drive, Ph. 587.536.6619

Offering families interfaith counselling services.

Access Counselling
501 Thicket Drive, Ph. 780.790.0200

Mental health services for family issues, martial support, grief bereavement, separation, divorce, difficult issues; sexual assault and abuse, trauma.

Borealis Counselling Services
118 Millennium Drive #5, Ph. 780.791.1757

Crisis prevention society. Services, resources and referrals.



  • Emergency: Contact 9-1-1
  • Health Link: Contact 8-1-1 (Call and speak to a healthcare provider; have your Alberta Health Card ready and ask questions about your personal health situation.)
  • Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 (24/7 hotline)
  • AHS Mental Health Hotline: 1-877-303-2642 (24/7 hotline)
  • Borealis Crisis Support: 1-780-743-4357 (24/7 hotline)
  • Unity House, Women’s Shelter: 1-780-743-1190 (24/7 hotline)
  • Waypoints Community Services Association: 1-780-743-4691


  • Addiction Helpline: 1-866-332-2322
  • Community Resources: 2-1-1 Alberta
  • Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741
  • Family Violence: 1-780-310-1818
  • Income Supports: 1-866-644-5135
  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868
  • Mental Health Helpline: 1-877-303-2642
  • Physician & Family Support Program: 1-877-767-4637



In March 2020, a new resource launched to support the mental health and wellness of Albertans during COVID-19. The daily, no-cost, text-based service is called, Text4Hope .

It’s an Alberta Health Services program provided by the Mental Health Foundation in association with numerous foundations across the province and offers three months of free Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This program is a one-way community and does not replace mental health therapies and supports. Text: Text4Hope to 393939 to subscribe.

Albertans can also subscribe to COVID19HOPE by texting to 393939. This a helpful option for people in self-isolation who can’t access face-to-face services, as well as those in remote locations.

About the author

YMM Parent Team is a collaboration of authors and contributors from in and around Fort McMurray.