Resources for General Mental Health & Coping

 In times of stress and uncertainty, a number of strategies can be helpful for maintaining well-being and promoting resilience. The uncertainties and specific restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak present particular challenges. Recent research has strongly supported two strategies for preventing or mitigating depressive and anxiety-related symptoms: promoting social connectedness and engaging in physical activity. In the current environment, necessary restrictions such as social distancing, self-quarantining, and other measures can make this challenging. As such we may need to be intentional about finding ways to reduce social isolation (for example, through virtual meetings, text and other messaging, phone calls) and find opportunities to engage in regular physical activity.

The resources highlighted below emphasize several evidence based self care and coping strategies. In addition to staying connected to others and keeping up physical activity, these include maintaining pillars of well-being such as regular sleep patterns and healthy eating. In addition, limiting excessive exposure to distress media and practicing stress management techniques such as mindfulness and deep breathing. 

Title COVID-19: Managing Stress in this Anxious Time
Source Institute for Disaster Mental Health
Summary Handout which outlines problem focused and emotion focused coping strategies to address stress.

Title FACE COVID – How to Respond Effectively to the Corona Crisis | Video (5:23) or E-book
Source Dr. Russ Harris, psychologist, author of The Happiness Trap
Summary Video and E-book with practical steps based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Title Coping with stress and anxiety during COVID-19
Source CAMH: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Summary Article with practical strategies on coping with stress and anxiety

Title Managing Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak
Source National Centre for PTSD, Veterans Affairs
Summary Handout with strategies for increasing sense of safety, staying connected, cultivating ways to be more calm and improving sense of control and ability to endure

Title Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty
Source Psychology Tools
Summary CBT Strategies to address worry and anxiety

Title Care For Your Coronavirus Anxiety
Source Shine, partnership with Mental Health America, (community-based, non-profit)
Summary Articles and Toolkit including meditations for coping with anxiety and stress

Title COVID-19 – Manage Anxiety & Stress
Source Centre for Disease Control (CDC)
Summary Article with coping strategies for general public, families and children and first responders

Title Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak
Source World Health Organization (WHO)
Summary Recommendations for specific groups including general population, healthcare workers, caregivers, older adults and quarantined individuals

Title Coronavirus Anxiety Daily Update #1: March 16, 2020 
Source Dr. Jud Brewer, neuropsychiatrist, mindfulness researcher
Summary Video (4:37) explaining anxiety/social contagion and 2 practices for good mental hygiene – deep breathing and grounding

Title Antidote for COVID-19 Induced Anxiety
Source Dr. Jud Brewer, neuropsychiatrist, mindfulness researcher
Summary Video (20:34) explaining anxiety/mindfulness practices

Title Having trouble sleeping? Why anxiety makes sleep worse and 3 things to do (Coronavirus update #8) (6:47)
Source Dr. Jud Brewer, neuropsychiatrist, mindfulness researcher
Summary Video (6:47) discussing sleep hygiene and body scan strategies 

Title What to do if you’re anxious or worried about Coronavirus
Source Anxiety Canada

Title Mental Health Wellness Tips for Quarantine
Source Dr. Eileen Feliciano, Psy.D Psychologist in NYS 
Summary Practical Tips for Quarantine

Note: some of these apps are available to healthcare professionals for a reduced cost or free.

Title Ten Percent Happier

FREE 6 month access for staff and volunteers in healthcare.

  • Email for access code (fast response!)

 FREE resources for everyone: “Coronavirus Sanity Guide”


Resources include:

  • Talks
  • Guided meditations
  • Podcasts
  • Live episodes on weekdays at 3PM ET/ 12 PT(guided meditation and live questions)


Title Balance
Cost FREE first year; $39.99/ year after

Personalized plans as well as individual meditations.

  • Plans include:
    • Foundations, Focus, Relaxation
  • Individual meditations include:
    • Sleep
    • Commute
    • Midday Reset
    • Gratitude 


Title Insight Timer
Cost FREE and Premium ($78.99/year) options

FREE: Individual meditations & talks (40 000+ available for free)

Premium members only: 200 Courses  Available in 50+ languages


Title Stop, Breathe, and Think
Cost Selection of FREE resources, otherwise $77.99/year for full access

Curated collection of mindfulness, visualization, and breathing exercises, based on check-in upon opening the app.

  • Database of many additional resources
  • “Calm Coronavirus Anxiety” exercises

Exercises & videos for children also available


Title Headspace

FREE access to all content for 3 months for Canadian healthcare providers

  • Write to with proof (e.g. licensure/certification number, ID)

Selection of FREE resources for everyone (search “Weathering the Storm”) Otherwise $17.99/month (first 7 days free) OR $89.99/year ($7.99/month – first 14 days free)


Free for everyone: “Weathering the Storm” (header in the “Explore” tab on the app)

  • Meditations, SOS/panic sessions, movement prompts, sleep exercises

All other resources include:

  • Meditations
  • Sleep aids
  • Mindful movement exercises
  • Visual exercises 


Title Smiling Mind
Cost FREE, no in-app purchases

Resources include multiple styles of mindfulness programs such as:

  • Mindfulness foundations
  • Sleep
  • Daily Commute
  • 10 Minute Sessions

Mindfulness for children and teenagers also available


Title Calm

FREE selection of resources in context of COVID19

All other resources:  7 days free, then $76.99/year


FREE resources include:

  • Meditations and breathing exercises
  • Journal prompts by theme: Gratitude, Managing Stress, Sleep (download)
  • Calendar with daily mindfulness activities (download)

*available in: English, German, Spanish, French, Korean, Portuguese All other resources (paid for) includes a large database of:

  • Meditations
  • Calming music
  • Visual prompts 


Title Healthy Minds
Resource Free
Summary Daily check-in, breathing exercises, stress management strategies 


Title Breathe by Dr. Jud
Resource Free
Summary Brief, on-demand breathing & mindfulness exercise 


Title Prana Breath (Android Only)
Resource Free
Summary Introduction to multiple guided breathing exercises of variable durations

Click on the poster to open and download.
These have been designed to print on 8.5×11 (letter) size paper.


The 7 C’s


Senses Exercise

Emotional Stress Continuum

Box Breathing


Anxiety Equation


Abdominal Breathing

Many healthcare workers are on the front lines for managing a COVID-19 outbreak. Whether due to increased job demands, coping with unusual circumstances, and/or fears of contagion to self and others, an outbreak could have a profound impact on mental health and the ability to remain effective in rapidly evolving situations, while increasing the risk of distress, anxiety and burnout. Several resources have been developed specifically to highlight the mental health needs of healthcare workers. The resources below highlight several recommended strategies for healthcare workers including: preparing for heightened demands during an outbreak and monitoring own stress/wellbeing and engaging in self-care/coping strategies (including general tips above) but also: checking in regularly with family/friends/colleagues, pacing work and taking mini-break where possible, avoiding overworking or ignoring personal needs and connecting to a sense of purpose and service.


Title Managing Healthcare Workers’ Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak
Source National Centre for PTSD, Veteran Affairs
Summary Article outlining potential sources of stress and strategies for preparedness and self-care


Title Sustaining the Well-Being of Healthcare personnel during Coronavirus and Other Infectious Disease Outbreaks
Source Centre for the Study of Traumatic Stress
Summary Article with practical strategies for sustaining healthcare personnel wellbeing


Title Caring for Yourself & Others During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Managing Health Care Workers’ Stress | Webinar and Handout
Source The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
Summary Patricia Watson, PhD discusses ways that healthcare workers can manage stress in context of Covid-19. Overview of Stress First Aid Model which incorporates self-care and peer support.


Title Briefing Note on addressing mental health and psychosocial aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak
Source Inter-Agency Standing Committee
Summary Extensive article on mental health and psychosocial responses to COVID-19 and targeted interventions for different groups including older adults, persons with disabilities, children, those in isolation/quarantine and frontline workers.


Title Leadership Communication – Anticipating and Responding to Stressful Events
Source Centre for the Study of Traumatic Stress
Summary Handout on leadership communication including message development.


Title COVID Hub
Source CMPA
Summary Up-to-date medical-legal information, advice and support regarding COVID 19 for physicians