MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH

MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH VIRTUAL RESOURCE CENTER

This webpage provides information as well as various resources and coping strategies for maintaining a healthy mental and physical way of life.

Contact TAV College’s Mental Health Resource Counsellor for more information: noemie@tav.ca

 

On this page:

  1. Physical Safety Guide (During Online Learning)
  2. Mental Health Safety Guide
  3. Mental Health Resources

COVID-19 and Mental Health

Psychology Works Fact Sheet: Student Wellness and COVID-19 – Canadian Psychological Association

“The information that follows is intended to help students cope psychologically in the face of health risks like COVID-19.”

Starling Minds

Free digital cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program for COVID-19 related issues

Virus anxiety

Tools to provides care for your coronavirus anxiety

PHYSICAL SAFETY

Most people seldom associate technological use with long-term physical injury, however, more people should begin to take this topic seriously.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety,

“No matter how harmless these activities may seem, they do set the stage for injuries that can develop over time. While these activities are not particularly hazardous for a worker who does them only occasionally, the situation becomes more critical when done long periods every working day. It is very important to know that musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs), and specifically, repetitive motion injuries (RMIs) rarely originate from one event or a particular factor. As a rule they develop over time from a variety of factors.

Unknown author. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. July 4, 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/risk_factors.html

A. PLACING YOUR COMPUTER MONITOR

The CCOHS recommends that you place your computer or laptop monitor either eye-level or at a 15 degree angle LOWER than eye level. 

Studies have shown that when a monitor is placed too high, it can cause several physical injuries.

For more information: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/monitor_positioning.html

B. EYE DISCOMFORT

According to the CCOHS,

Eye discomfort symptoms may be caused by:

  • poor lighting
  • glare on a computer or tablet screen
  • poor quality computer or tablet screen (e.g., poor resolution, blurry image, etc.)
  • improper viewing distances
  • poor seating posture
  • uncorrected vision problems
  • dry air
  • air movement, or
  • a combination of these factors

Source: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/eye_discomfort.html

C. SITTING AT A DESK OR COMPUTER

According to the CCOHS,

PROLONGED SITTING:

Limited mobility contributes to injuries in the parts of the body responsible for movement: the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. Another factor is the steady, localized tension on certain regions of the body. The neck and lower back are the regions usually most affected. Why? Prolonged sitting:

  • Reduces body movement making muscles more likely to pull, cramp or strain when stretched suddenly,
  • Causes fatigue in the back and neck muscles by slowing the blood supply and puts high tension on the spine, especially in the low back or neck, and
  • Causes a steady compression on the spinal discs that hinders their nutrition and can contribute to their premature degeneration.

SOLUTIONS:
  • Purchase an ergonomic office chair or learn about the most effective ways of sitting to avoid injury.
  • Reduce the amount of contact you have with hard edges (desk edge, chair edge, armrests.)
  • Sit in a neutral position with your back straight and your feet planted on a flat surface.

Source: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/sitting/sitting_overview.html

https://www.ontario.ca/page/computer-ergonomics#figure1

D. BREAKS AND STRETCHING

According to the CCOHS,

WHY IS STRETCHING IMPORTANT?

Because working on a computer requires very few changes in body position, problems may arise if early interventions in your work habits are not properly addressed.

TIPS WHEN WORKING FROM HOME

It is recommended that a person break for 5-10 minutes for every hour spent at a workstation. If possible, it is ideal to stand up and walk for this time. Some of these stretches can be done at the same time.

  • Vary the work tasks. Break up keyboarding tasks work by doing other job duties or tasks that involve moving around or changing body position. Try to stand up and move around.
  • Look away from the screen occasionally and focus your eyes on an object far away.
  • Take regular rest breaks to ease muscle aches, eye strain and stress.
  • Relax your muscles, stretch and change position.
  • Hold the stretch for a reasonable time (e.g., 10-20 seconds).
  • Breathe normally.
  • Do not bounce, pull/push excessively, or lock your joints.
  • You should feel a stretch, but not pain.
  • If you feel pain or severe discomfort, stop stretching. Ask your medical professional for advice.

 

STRETCHES YOU CAN DO

https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/stretching.html 

Source: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/stretching.html

E. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Not only can physical activity and exercise help us increase energy levels, get more and better sleep and increased our appetite, but it is also proven to decrease stress levels.

As of June of 2016, the Canadian Government recommends that we:

  • Be active at least 2.5 hours a week to achieve health benefits.
  • Focus on moderate to vigorous aerobic activity throughout each week, broken into sessions of 10 minutes or more.
  • Get stronger by adding activities that target your muscles and bones at least two days per week. 

More information on the Government of Canada webpage

PHYSICAL SAFETY: SUMMARIZED

health-at-home

MENTAL SAFETY

A large aspect of education is socialization, however, with the semester being held online, many challenges begin to surface, namely mental health issues. This section aims to address specific strategies that you can undertake to reduce stress and promote positive mental health. 

A. STRATEGIES FOR COPING WITH ANXIETY

Anxiety is not something that can be dealt with or prevented easily. However, there are certain strategies that you can adopt to reduce anxiety. Take a look at some information below.

1. Research studies have proven that more sleep can reduce anxiety levels (Meijer & van den Wittenboer, 2004)

2. As discussed earlier, physical activity has been proven to decrease stress levels, allow us to focus our mind and lays the foundation for a better sleep so that you can reduce anxiety levels.

3. For more information on Mental Health safety, check out this infographic created by the Government of Quebec.

Sources:

Meijer, A. M., & van den Wittenboer, G. L. H. (2004). The joint contribution of sleep, intelligence and motivation to school performance. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 95–106.

B. BREATHING EXERCISES

If ever you feel overwhelmed or stressed throughout the day, a simple, yet effective, exercise you can do to focus your mind and relax is this breathing exercise.

STEPS:

1. Place yourself somewhere quiet or put earphones in and play some music you like.

2. Close your eyes (to focus).

3. Breathe in for 5 seconds.

4. Breathe out for 5 seconds.

5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 for about 5 minutes or longer if needed.

 

C. SELF-AGENCY

An extremely important aspect in promoting a state of positive mental health is the role of self-agency. Self-agency can be crudely defined as the power you hold over yourself. When we feel in control of ourselves and our actions, we feel more equipped to manage the world around us.

Although not necessarily a simple task for all, some effective methods for increasing self-agency in your life are things such as:

  • Creating, organizing and updating a weekly (or daily) schedule
  • Listing and organizing goals (personal or academic)
  • Organizing your personal spaces (desk, bedroom, office, car, home)
  • Take action. If you have listed goals that you would like to achieve, acting on them will reinforce self-agency.
    • For example, if one of your goals was to eliminate negative influences in your life, an action to take may be to quit smoking or remove a person from your social circle.
    • Another example could be that if one of your goals was to improve your English language skills, an action to take could be to enroll yourself in an English as a Second Language course.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

*If you are at risk of harm to others or yourself, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you need someone to listen to you and give you emotional support:

For youth 20 years old and younger:

Kids Help Phone

1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868 for texting service (24hr counselling and listening helpline/texting service for young adults up to 20 years old)

Tel-Jeunes

Phone counseling (24/7), 1-800-263-2266 or 514-600-1002 for text support (available between 8 am and 11 pm).

For everyone:

Tel-Aide

514-935-1101 (24/7 listening service for 18 years +)

Suicide Action Montreal (SAM)

514-723-4000 (24/7 listening service)

Addictions:

Drug Help & Referral

1-800-265-2626 (24/7 listening and referral service)

Gambling Help & Referral (SOS Jeux)

514-527-0140 (24/7 listening and referral service)

Al Anon

(alcohol): 514-866-9803 (10:00am-10:00pm, 7 days a week)

ANEB

514-630-0907 (every day from 8:00am-3:00am) Professional service, offering hope and support to people suffering from eating disorders.

Alcoholics Anonymous

for English speaking services call 514-350-3444

Urgence Toxico

Emergency service for people who have taken drugs, alcohol or both, 514-288-1515 or go to 110 and 100-A, rue Prince Arthur Ouest

LGBT+

Interligne

1-888-505-1010 (24hr free confidential helpline – phone and texting)

“We are here to listen to you and support you, no matter what you have to say, or the situation you are currently facing.”

Sexual and/or domestic violence

See TAV’s sexual violence resource page

Crisis centers

Crisis Services Canada

A national network of existing distress, crisis and suicide prevention line services. In a crisis? In Quebec, dial 1-866-277-3553 or 1-866-APPELLE

Tracom Crisis Intervention Centre

514-483- 3033 (24/7 telephone support)

Mental health

Centre St-Pierre

Offering psychotherapy in English, French and Spanish (sliding-scale fees): You can contact them to be put on their waiting list: 514 524-3561

Argyle Institute

514-931-5629 offers psychotherapy on sliding-scale fees

AMI-Quebec

514-486-1448. AMI-Quebec helps families manage the effects of mental illness through support, education, guidance, and advocacy

Revivre

1-866-738-4873, helpline about anxiety, depression and bipolarity, Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5pm

Other resources

Information and Referral Center of Greater Montreal

Help with finding various other resources: from 8:00am. to 6:00pm., 7 days a week, dial 2-1-1

Info-Santé /Info-Social 811

Promptly puts you in contact with a nurse or psychosocial intervention worker in the event of a health concern or psychosocial problem

Local Food Banks

To find a local food bank near you, try this resource to search by your postal code.

UPDATED: FEBRUARY 23, 2021

Do you have questions or comments?