We all encounter mental health issues at some point in our lives, whether through our own experience or the experience of those close to us.
When it comes to creating a work culture or work space that promotes awareness of and sensitivity to mental issues, the Mental Health Policy from UK arts organization MAYK is a useful starting point. Their policy is a statement of attitude and a way of ensuring that the artists, freelancers and staff they work with are respected, understood and provided for, by encouraging a work environment with all of their partners that reflects an understanding and compassionate attitude to mental health issues. Find it here.
If you find yourself in crisis and need someone to talk to, please take a look at our emergency resources for:
- Ontario and Outside Toronto
- Canada and Outside Ontario
- Ressource en cas de crise ou d’urgence (Francophone)
These pages list emergency services, 24-Hour help lines, resource centres, programs, and legal support for folks in crisis and survivors of trauma.
Resources for finding adequate and culturally competent mental health support that truly meets the needs of IBPOC people so that they can thrive within our current systems:
- A collection of Mental health resources for people who identify as Indigenous or Aboriginal, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Includes counselling and therapy, support groups, community health centres and more.
- Healing in Colour is an searchable online directory of POC therapists and allied professionals across what is currently called Canada who have agreed to the following Statement of Values:
- I am committed to anti-oppressive values in my practice.
- My values are pro-queer, pro-trans, pro-sex worker, pro-Black, and anti-colonial.
- I actively work to disrupt power in the therapy room, and to be responsible and accountable to the communities I serve.
- My approach is non-pathologizing, and respects the dignity and agency of POC in all our intersections.
- Psychology Today's BIPOC Therapist Directory can be searched by province, city, or postal code.
- BIPOC Mental Health YYC is a living directory of community resources, BIPOC mental health professionals, decolonial and anti-racist educational resources, POC-owned fitness offerings, POC-centered self-care and relevant articles. Most of the community and mental health professional resources are based in Mohkinstsis on Treaty 7 land (Calgary AB Canada), but there are several relevant resources with a reach and scope beyond Calgary listed as well.
- IBPOC Mental Health Support Database for residents of Kjipuktuk/Halifax Regional Municipality
- 3 Tips for Finding a Culturally Competent Therapist, an article on finding good treatment as a BIPOC client from Psychology Today.
BounceBack is a free skill-building program managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). It is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness. BounceBack provides up to 6 phone sessions of CBT.
MindShift™ CBT is a mobile application for iOs and Android devices that uses scientifically proven strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety.
Friends of Ruby, an organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQI2S youth, is maintaining crisis and counselling appointments, and providing additional supports to youth over the phone and through the internet. If a youth needs any type of assistance with mental health or coping with COVID-19, or finding food, shelter and other resources they can call 416-359-0237 or email: info at friendsofruby.ca.
Take Care 19 is a compliation of resources that are free, low-cost, or at a reduced cost, across a range of platforms, methods, audiences, and/or offered by/for folks in traditionally marginalized communities (i.e., BIPOCs, LGBTQ2S+, folks with disabilities, seniors, etc.) that started as a response to COV-19.
CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto) released a Mental Health package to support the public as they navigate COVID-19, with resources for navigating grief and loss, isolation and quarantine, among other topics.
Care for your Coronavirus Anxiety is a digital toolkit created by Shine containing resources for anxiety and your mental health in a global climate of uncertainty. It includes sections on "ask an expert", "free meditations, "take a break" and more.
Peak Resilience Mental Health Guide (Vancouver)
- 5 Free Guided Meditations to Investigate Panic and Anxiety from Mindful
- Library of Guided Meditations by Tara Brach
- An archive of Dharma talks given by Gil Fronsdal, Andrea Fella and various guest speakers at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA. Each talk illuminates aspects of the Buddha's teachings.
- Publically available talks and guided meditations from Dharma Seed
- The largest library of guided meditations on earth - also has a mobile app
- Youtube Channel of guided meditations from Headspace
- My Anxiety Plan Map for Adults (10 Hour workbook with 6 Units and 45 Lessons based on cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) that you can work through at your own pace)
VirusAnxiety.com has compiled a list of articles to help with COVID-19-related anxiety.
Due to the precarity of our sector, many artists are left with negative impact on their mental health. On July 10, 2018, Generator and Toronto Fringe held an #UrgentExchange on Precarity + Mental Health where members from Artist Health Alliance, Artist Health Centre, Dancer Transition Resource Centre, Workman Arts, and AFC met with artists at POSTSCRIPT (Fringe Tent) to talk about what’s happening, how can we make things better, and what resources are out there for us?
Below is a chart of resources available, as well as links and contact information for all organizations to relieve some of the stress artists may be experiencing.
You can also use this interactive map to find help across Canada, which incorporates a chart breaking down the resources available at each location, what demographics they support, whether programs are free, and if a referral is needed.
|Al and Malka Green Artist Health Centre||Dancer Transition Resource Centre||Workman Arts||AFC||Generator||The Living Institute||Hard Feelings||Toronto Institute of Relational Psychotherapy||OISE Counselling Clinic||The 519||The Affordable Therapy Network of Toronto||Gerstein Crisis Centre|
|Affordable/Free Counselling & Psychotherapy||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Classes and Workshops||X|
The Al & Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre is a facility in the Family and Community Medicine Program at Toronto Western Hospital. The Centre is the only clinic of its kind in Canada that specializes in serving the entire artistic community.
The Centre is an integrative outpatient clinic offering both medical and complementary care. Clinic services that can be seen here. There is also a Nurse Practitioner to care for all patients and access to a family physician.
Services are subsidized for artists in financial need for up to up to $760 annually through the Joysanne Sidimus Fund.
Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC) is a national, charitable organization dedicated to helping dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers. They also operate as a resource centre for the artistic community and general public and support activities that improve the socioeconomic conditions of artists across the country. Their goal is to ensure that dancers and artists from all backgrounds have the tools they need to reach their potential throughout their artistic career and after retirement from performance.
Workman Arts is an arts and mental health organization known internationally for its artistic collaborations, presentations, knowledge exchange, best practices and research on the impact of the arts on the quality of life of people living with mental illness and addiction.
Workman Arts supports the creative goals of emerging and established artists with mental health and addiction issues by providing a safe, nurturing environment where artistic projects, professional opportunities and personal and professional networks are developed and fostered. Through participation in creative and collaborative projects that encourage the exchange of ideas between artist and observer, and the shared collective experience of audiences engaging in performances or presentation of works of art, connections are made between Workman Arts artists and the public at large and the discrimination and prejudice associated with mental illness and addiction is eroded.
The AFC is the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry. Through compassionate and confidential support, we help Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity and ability to work. The AFC is an expression of the community’s good will, helping entertainment professionals when they are at their most vulnerable due to injury, illness or other personal hardship. The AFC believes by supporting the health and well-being of arts and entertainment professionals, the industry as a whole will benefit. In a sector in which employment can be unpredictable, it’s good to know that a caring community has your back. Check out their Career Resilience Resource Hub for programs, services, and resources that are currently available for employment support, apprenticeships, career transition, side hustles & entrepreneurship, and job searching.
Generator is a mentoring, teaching, and innovation incubator that expands the skills, tools, and competencies of independent artists, producers and leaders. From intensive programs to workshops, Generator is transforming the role of the artist producer one artist at a time.
The Living Institute Student Clinic provides affordable assessment, counselling and psychotherapy services to adults. The initial consultation is provided by a senior psychotherapist at no charge. Psychotherapy and counselling services are provided by experienced interns in the psychotherapy training program under the supervision of a senior psychotherapist. The initial session with your intern is free. The range of services offered by the clinic covers a broad spectrum of personal, social and psychological concerns. To book an appointment, call 416 515 0404 or check the website for the email address of the current clinical director.
Hard Feelings is an innovative, welcoming community of professional counsellors who provide low-cost services and support. They will work with you to determine a sliding scale rate based on what you can afford, ranging from $50-$80 per session for a maximum of 12 sessions.
TIRP student therapists offer therapy to adult individuals (18 or older) for a cost of $25 per session as they train to become professional therapists.
TIRP senior student therapists and graduate therapists offer therapy to adult individuals (18 or older) and/or couples for a cost of between $40 and $80 per session, on a sliding scale. There is no prescribed time limit on the sliding scale fee - clients and therapists negotiate this together.
The OISE Psychology Clinic provides comprehensive assessment and intervention services to children and adolescents, and assessment and counselling services to adults. These services are typically provided by students doing their clinical training under the supervision of faculty and staff psychologists. A sliding scale fee is available for a limited number of clients.
LGBTQ+ folks seeking cheap or free one-on-one therapy can request to be connected to a volunteer therapist via The 519’s Trauma-Informed Counselling Services. They also have free single-session drop-in counselling sessions that open to any individual over the age of 16 on a first-come, first-served basis during drop-in hours. Sessions are up to one hour in length. They have group sessions as well. Check out the full list of their counselling services here.
Visit The 519's COVID-19 update page to sign up for friendly check-ins via phone or email, or to access resource packages related to: essential services and supports; care and prevention; emotional and self-care.
(check the website for contact information for each listed practitioner and message them directly)
A listing of private therapists who offer sliding scale rates in their practice. Practitioners listed offer limited openings at the rate of $65/hour or less and ongoing openings at their sliding scale rate.
Gerstein Crisis Centre provides 24-hour crisis intervention (through telephone crisis services, a mobile crisis team, and crisis beds), wellness and recovery activities, and training and education in the city of Toronto.