OTTAWA -- With summer vacation season winding down, Ottawa's medical officer of health is urging all Ottawa residents to take care of their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"COVID-19 has impacted everyone differently, and we continue to hear about the negative mental health impacts from business owners, employers, employees, parents, children and youth and older adults," said Dr. Vera Etches in a statement.

"Help is available."

In a message on Twitter, Ottawa Public Health said, "As your daily life has become more fast paced, your body might start telling you it needs a break."

"Whether its spilling your coffee or feeling more irritated, these are signs you need a day off (or even a week). Take care of you."

Ottawa Public Health offers tips to take care of your mental health:

  1. Try to unplug from media and find a balance
  2. Physical distancing does not mean being alone
  3. You are not alone
  4. We know this isn't easy. #ItsOktoNotBeOk
  5. Take care of your body. Stay active

Counselling Connect provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session. The service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and surrounding area.

"This weekend, I hope you take time to take care of your mental health by being active and spending time outdoors," writes Dr. Etches.

"Try to unplug when you can and reach out for help when you need it."

Dr. Etches adds, "Let's continue to do our part caring for neighbours and looking out for each other by wearing a mask, washing hands often, keeping at least two metres of distance from others and staying home when you feel unwell."

Here is a list of Mental Health Resources available for Ottawa residents during the COVID-19 pandemic:

The Mental Health Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 days a week) 613-722-6914 

Distress Centre of Ottawa (24 hours a day/7 days a week) 613-238-3311

Kids Help Phone (Bilingual) 1-800-668-6868

Good 2 Talk (bilingual) 1-866-925-5454

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line 24/7 (Bilingual, Other) 1-855-242-3310

Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre Crisis Line 24/7 (English) 613-562-2333 24hr Line: 613-562-2333