COVID-19 Q&A: Maintaining mental health in a big family


We are a young family of five. Mom & dad have severe mental illnesses and are able to function by relying on assistance with childcare. Mom & dad work full-time. How do we maintain social distancing while also maintaining our mental health and avoiding a crisis​?

Ann-Marie O’Brien, Social Worker

These are extraordinary times. During times like these, the basics are really important – proper sleep, good nutrition, and exercise. Each member of your family will cope in their own way. Remember to give each other space in whatever way you can manage. If possible, have a space that is ‘adults only.’ 

Social distancing is actually physical distancing. Keeping contact with personal and professional supports (i.e care providers) through telephone or video chat is really important. 

No doubt you’ve developed wellness tools or coping mechanisms that have got you this far. Honour your wisdom, take note of what works for you. 

Remember to make time for fun and laughter everyday. 

You may also want to ask your family doctor/nurse practitioner about a referral to The Royal’s PROMPT clinic. It’s staffed by a team of mental health nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers who can provide the following services: urgent assessments, medication support, short-term psychotherapy (maximum four sessions per client), and help with accessing other services. Read more about it right here

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please go to the emergency department of your nearest general hospital or call 911.

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