Chair's Monthly Message: June 15th 2020

Posted on Monday, June 15, 2020

Hi Everyone:

We have launched a new initiative: Preserving Provider Mental Health. Dr. Puddester will be leaving, but continuing to help with the project from BC and Dr. Simon Hatcher, Vice-Chair, will co-lead it from this site. The Chair's Message today is written by Dr. Puddester. 


Preserving Provider Mental Health

Our community continues to adapt to life affected by COVID-19.  Innovation, professionalism and compassion is on display throughout our department with members actively engaged in modifying their practice to best serve the needs of patients and families.  Every day is full of moments worth acknowledging and celebrating even though it is hard to find the time to do so.  Keep catching each other doing something right - we will get through this by holding each other up.

At the best of times, taking care of the mental health of health care providers presents unique opportunities and challenges.  During these incredibly challenging weeks and months, the skills of mental health providers will be in high demand.  Our ability to provide support to each other as well as our colleagues on the front lines of share will be in high demand.  There is emerging data on the psychological ramifications of the virus on health care professionals coming out of China.  In a study of more than 1200 physicians and nurses across Wuhan and mainland China, Lai et al (1) found high rates of depression and anxiety.  50% reported mild severity and 14% of physicians reported moderate to severe symptoms.  Severity was associated with proximity to poor patient outcomes - a particular risk for colleagues at the front line of COVID-10 care.

Thankfully, lots of resources are coming online to support health providers.  We’d like to highlight a few:


Ontario-Specific Resources

uOttawa’s Department of Emergency Medicine has a focused blog for providers on Managing stress and anxiety related to COVID-19

The Physician Health Program of the Ontario Medical Association has published Keeping yourself healthy:  Resilience and stress inoculation during COVID-19.  The OMA is also facilitating peer support programs for physicians very Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2000 hours:

The current pandemic is causing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety in our workplace.  Drop in and learn short mindfulness practices to help find calm in the midst of challenge.  Relax, recharge and learn how to incorporate moments of mindfulness into your day.   Optional discussion to follow. From us and for us: No OHIP numbers are required. This is not treatment or therapy.

Mondays 8-830 with Dr Diane Meschino starting March 30th 30th Email:  for more information or simply join the Zoom session Join Zoom Meeting:   Meeting ID: 613 224 6869

Tuesdays 8-830pm with Dr Jennifer Hirsch starting March 24th Email: for more information or simply join the Zoom session Join Zoom Meeting:   Meeting ID: 148 527 614

Wednesdays 8-830pm with Dr Mary Elliott starting March 25th  Email for more information simply join the Zoom session Join Zoom Meeting:     Meeting ID: 948 215 9624

Thursdays 8-830pm with Dr Orit Zamir starting March 26th Email  for more information or simply join the Zoom session Join Zoom Meeting:    Meeting ID: 302 330 041 

Daily group through PHP by Dr. Kasra Khorasani, a psychiatrist at Mount Sinai Health Systems and St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, who is an expert in group therapy and has decades of experience (details at


Faculty Wellness ProgramPhysician Health Program of the OMA


National Resouces

The Canadian Medical Association has released resources for Maintaining your and your family’s well-being during a pandemic including How to talk to your kids about COVID-19: Considerations for health care providers

The University of Western Ontario is offering Coping with COVID - it is a zoom meeting for resident doctors across Canada to provide peer support and discuss coping amidst the COVID crisis. This group meeting is not intended to provide counselling, psychotherapy, or mental health treatment. Discussion will be focused on coping in the context of COVID-19 with the goal of providing social support, particularly for those residents in isolation. The group will be co-facilitated by Psychiatrists Dr. Javeed Sukhera and Dr. Maryna Mammoliti. Contact if you are interested in more details.

Topic: Peer Support for Residents
Time: Mar 25, 2020 09:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 283 540 974
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+16475580588,,283540974# Canada
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+1 647 558 0588 Canada; Meeting ID: 283 540 974


International Resources

The American Psychiatric Association has created a number of specific COVID-19 resources at no cost for psychiatrists (and you need not be a member).  These include webinars on  Telepsychiatry in the Era of COVID-19 and Managing the Mental Health Effects of COVID-19.  Dr. Joshua Morganstein, Chair of the APA Committee on psychiatric Dimensions of Disasters, has also crafted a one-pager on Taking care of ourselves during infectious disease outbreaks

The US Centre for the Study of Traumatic Stress has published a one-pager on Sustaining the well-being of Healthcare personnel during Coronavirus and other infectious disease outbreaks 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has encouraged health care providers to develop local buddy systems for implementing peer support and developed a fact sheet on best practices for consideration.

We’d love to hear your ideas about how we can support each other and our colleagues across the Faculty during this crises.  We’d also welcome any useful resources to share in future updates - please send along to

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