Well-being & Resilience

McMaster & Hospital Wellness Supports


McMaster Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences: Wellness resources for mental health, physical health, social health, entertainment purposes and general COVID-19.

Homewood Health: The McMaster Employee and Family Assistance Program which is an extended benefit provided to staff and faculty offering confidential counselling services, online tools and resources to support individuals during mental health and addiction struggles for themselves or family members.

McMaster Employee Health Benefits: MUFA Faculty, Clinical Faculty, and members of TMG and UNIFOR have expanded mental health benefits. Click here and find your employee group for more information.

Mental Health Resources: A resource page for staff and faculty members with mental health resources for self and others including access to Employee Family Assistance Program, Student Mental Health Strategy, events calendar and more.

Resilience Toolkit: This toolkit offers practical resources that may assist individuals in responding to the current situation during COVID-19 in ways that will support safe and healthy psychological health.

Sun Life Virtual Care Services: Sun Life has added Lumino Health Virtual Care to McMaster University’s Extended Health plans beginning April 9, 2020. Virtual Care lets you connect with health-care professionals from your home. You can speak with a health care provider about physical or mental health concerns, receive a diagnosis, and receive a prescription. Eligible employees and their dependents have no charge access to this service until June 1, 2020.

The Okanagan Charter: An extensive inventory of health and wellness geared programs that can be filtered by audience for the McMaster community. Many programs have moved to providing virtual or online programs during COVID-19 physical distancing.

Professor Hippo-on-Campus: Faculty are often ideally situated to recognize and respond to stressed and distressed students and to start important conversations and prevent unnecessary stress and distress. They must feel prepared and comfortable to address student needs in ways that are consistent with and appropriate to their roles. The Professor Hippo-on-Campus program has been designed and tested to help accomplish these goals in an accessible and engaging format. You will learn a lot about what’s available and what to do to support student mental health.


HHS Resilience Support Toolkit: This toolkit was put together by Hamilton Health Sciences with a specific focus on healthcare professionals to build and strengthen ones capacity for resilience in times of high stress, such as COVID-19. The toolkit provides strategies to build resilience practice into daily routine using the framework of pause, reset, nourish with the goal of enhancing focus and overall well-being.

HHS COPE-Line: The COPE line provides support for HHS staff and physicians throughout COVID-19 to provide the right support at the right time from peers having shared experiences. The COPE line can be reached at: (905) 521-2100 ext. 43333

HHS Wellness Supports:

  • Formed a corporate group called the Resilience Support Team who are in the process of creating a wellness initiative with four prongs:

      1. Compiling Resources for Staff – a toolkit providing information on mental health and the COVID pandemic, behavioural strategies such as diaphragmatic breathing, relaxation, mindfulness strategies, and CBT skills

      2. COVID Unit Support – Initiatives available to support staff and patients

      3. Support Line – Similar to the SJH model where it ensures the callers are connected with appropriate staff to answer questions and refer further if necessary

      4. Messaging to Managers and Leadership - how to invoke team morale and messaging on how to support the teams on facing the pandemic, stay connected and provide resilience

  • Contacts: Karen Zhang (zhangka@hhsc.ca) and Greg Tippin (tipping@hhsc.ca)


SJHH Wellness Supports

  • Creating a step care model of support for front line staff and physicians effected by this pandemic.

  • Employees can access the My St Joes website employee wellness page for helpful information and their employee assistance program.

  • The Mental Health & Addictions Program have a group of clinicians providing telephone triage support accessed through a form on the employee wellness page. Once complete the employee will receive a call back within 24 hours.

    • The COVID-19 Mental Health Support Team: This confidential support phone line offers healthcare workers with quick access to a team of healthcare professionals including psychiatrists and psychotherapists. Individuals can be connected to resources, supports or additional services as needed. The Support Team is available at: (905) 522-1155 ext. 36499.

Health Professional Supports and Resources

Understanding and Addressing Sources of Anxiety Among Health Care Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An article that discusses the increased level of stress health care professionals endure in order to perform to their full potential over an extended time interval while coping with the societal shifts and emotional stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The article summaries key considerations for supporting the health care workforce based on the experience and direct requests of health care professionals.

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada: A collection of wellness resources for physicians including articles and free services provided to healthcare professionals during COVID-19.

Physician Health Program: The Physician Health Program (PHP), through the Ontario Medical Association, provides confidential support for individuals who are struggling with substance use and mental health concerns, as well as with other behaviours that have a personal and professional impact. The PHP also offers support and education to physician leaders, hospitals, and to anyone else who is concerned about a colleague.

Wellness During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A series of questions and answers from Dr. Lisa Richardson, Vice-Chair of Culture and Inclusion in the Department of Medicine at University of Toronto.

Doctors’ wellbeing: self care during the COVID-19 pandemic: An article discussing the importance of sleep in the mental and well-being of healthcare professionals. The article also includes links to several other sources to improve sleep.

WellDoc Alberta: A site full of resources and information specifically for physician wellness. The resources and information are evidence-based and content for training is provided by experts in the field of physician wellness. The website is a collaboration with Cumming Medical School at the University of Alberta.

Canadian Society of Physician Leaders: Infographic of wellbeing tips for healthcare providers during COVID-19.

Canadian Medical Association - Physician Wellness Hub: The Hub includes original CMA content and curated information from other trusted sources in the form of resources for physicians, residents and medical students seeking guidance and wellness self-help. It also has material for those leading wellness initiatives in institutions or medical departments.

Understanding and Addressing Sources of Anxiety Among Health Care Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic: This Viewpoint summarizes key considerations for supporting the health care workforce so health care professionals are equipped to provide care for their patients and communities.

How Physician Wellness Impacts Quality of Care: Commentary regarding a study published by Journal of Internal Medicine regarding physician wellness and its impacts on quality of patient quality.

Ensuring Your Own Wellbeing as we Care for Others During the COVID-19 Crisis: CSPL article with strategies to increase or maintain resilience directed specifically to physician leaders. The article is based on the 5 C’s of resilience framework.

Coping with Adverse Patient Outcomes: A presentation from Stanford Medicine Obstetrics and Gynecology Department focusing on conveying concern for patients dealing with difficult outcomes.

COVID-19 and Moral Distress: The Canadian Medical Association has put together a resource for physicians to learn how to recognize moral distress and includes coping strategies to prevent negative impacts, particularly in relation to COVID-19.

Mental Health

Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support: The Wellness Together Canada portal has free online resources, tools & connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals to help all Canadians cope during COVID-19.

Mental Health Resources During COVID-19: A compilation of mental health well-being information, resources, exercises, apps, and available online affordable therapy based mostly in the Greater Toronto Area.

World Health Organization (WHO): Message from the WHO regarding mental health during COVID-19 outbreak. The messages are tailored to different populations including healthcare workers, leaders within healthcare settings, children, and at-risk populations.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH): A website dedicated to resources for mental health in the time of COVID-19 including self-testing options for stress, and symptoms of anxiety. The website also covers the stigma and prejudice often associated with mental health and addiction.

National Alliance on Mental Illness: A complete COVID-19 information and resource guide for healthcare professionals and the general public. The resources are presented in an answer and question format with links out to various other resources in English and Spanish.

Improving Mental Health During COVID-19: A variety of resources and supports put together by Dr. Jerome Perera who is a psychiatrist at North York General Hospital and a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. The website outlines different resources for relief from stress, tips for maintaining a health lifestyle, positive affirmations to assist with coping, and mindfulness activities to practice.

Canadian Mental Health Association Hamilton: Offering short-term support to healthcare professionals and social services staff experiencing mental health stress and anxiety due to COVID-19.

Workplace Strategies for Mental Health: Canada Life website providing a variety mental health resources including psychological health and well-being resources, employee specific resources and training tools. There is also a section dedicated to workplace wellness.

Mental Health and COVID-19: Conference Board of Canada videos with Dr. Bill Howatt focused on mental health during COVID-19.

Peak Resilience: Blog compilation of mental health resources categorized by high-risk populations (children and elderly) with a focus on COVID-19.

Mental Health During COVID-19: List of five tips to care for mental well-being during COVID-19.

How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic, According to Psychologists: Strategies from Dr. Kelly Vincent a licensed clinical psychologist in California to improve mental health and emotional well-being during COVID-19.

Mental Health and Psychological Considerations During the COVID-19 Outbreak: WHO and public health authorities around the world are acting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. However, this time of crisis is generating stress throughout the population. The considerations presented in this document have been developed by the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use as a series of messages that can be used in communications to support mental and psychosocial well-being in different target groups during the outbreak.

Psychological First Aid: Guide for Field Workers: Psychological first aid is an alternative to psychological debriefing. This guide was developed in order to have widely agreed upon psychological first aid materials for use in low and middle income countries. This guide – endorsed by many international agencies – reflects the emerging science and international consensus on how to support people in the immediate aftermath of extremely stressful events.

Wellness Together Canada: This website provides access to targeted, free online resources, tools, apps as well as connections to professional volunteers and mental health professionals for all Canadians.

Practical Tips for an 'Integrative Resilience' Approach: An article from Hedy S. Wald entitled: Optimizing resilience and wellbeing for healthcare professions trainees and healthcare professionals during public health crises - Practical tips for an ' integrative resilience' approach speaks to how crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, create an imperative for medical educators to support trainees' wellbeing through adaptive flexibility for curriculum innovation and culturally sensitive resilience and wellbeing interventions. The article presents strategies to optimize resilience and wellbeing with an integrative resilience approach of individual, learning environment, and organization/ systems factors.

Managing Stress and Coping

Ways to Manage Stress and Anxiety: The article provides strategies that individuals can employ to reduce or manage stress and anxiety related to COVID-19.

Advice for Faculty Members in a Turbulent Time: Tips and strategies to protect your mental and physical health

Stress and Coping: From the CDC, this website provides an overview of what stress can look like for different individuals, who stress may impact most and provides a variety of resources to cope with stress and anxiety during COVID-19.

Coping with Fatigue, Fear, and Panic During a Crisis: Fatigue, fear, and panic undermine our ability to think clearly and creatively, manage our relationships effectively, focus attention on the right priorities, and make smart, informed choices. So when faced with a serious crisis, how can we take better care of ourselves and build more resilience? One way is to become more aware of the three selves that influence our behavior in the face of threat and danger.

What Your Coworkers Need Right now is Compassion: When you’re under extreme stress, it’s not always easy to be patient and understanding with your coworkers. But judging them doesn’t help either. So how do you find and show empathy for your colleagues when your cognitive resources are depleted?

Managing Stress and Anxiety Related to COVID-19: Strategies health care workers can adopt to manage increasing levels of anxiety related to COVID-19.

The Crisis Kit: The article provides five tools for helping clients through turbulent times including mental resources, self-awareness, coping mechanisms and how to remain calm in the face of stress.

Peer Support for Health Professionals

10 Tips for Facilitating a Peer Support Group: Many of us will be seeking to support our team members through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. McMaster's Dr. Karen Saperson from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences provides tips for developing and facilitating your own peer support group.

Mental Health Pandemic Group: Social media group on Facebook which shares resources and information to support mental health and well-being during COVID-19.

MD Chat Sessions: Dr. Dr. Kasra Khorasani, a staff psychiatrist at University of Toronto, with over 20 years of experience is holding daily sessions for physicians to discuss well-being and for the sharing of information across Ontario. Sessions are held Monday to Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST via Zoom.

COVID-19 Women Physicians' Emotional Well-Being: This Facebook group is designed as a safe space for women physicians to process and discuss emotional experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group is open to physicians, residents, fellows and 4th year medical students.

Self-Care, Mindfulness & Relaxation

Peak Resilience: Blog post focused on activities for self-care or wellness including mindfulness activities, virtual yoga, and online entertainment. This posting provides access or links to numerous self-care apps and websites to utilize for self-care.

Headspace: Guided mediation and mindfulness app for stress offering free services.

Centre for Mindfulness Studies: Mindfulness information sessions, and pay what you can online series designed to assist during COVID-19.

Taking Care of Yourself During COVID-19 Uncertainty: An article containing tips for self-care during COVID-19 specific to healthcare professionals.

Family Well-being

A Guide for Working (From Home) Parents: An article from Harvard Business Review with simple strategies to employ for parents working from home to ensure productive work and happy children.

Parenting in a time of COVID-19: These resources focus on concrete tips to build positive relationships, divert and manage bad behaviour, and manage parenting stress.

Family Life Resources: A list of resources and links for families relating to COVID-19 including activities to do with kids while physical distancing, tips on how to educate children on COVID-19 as well as other resources for high-risk populations from Vanderbilt University.

How to Talk to Your Kids About COVID-19: Strategies for parents to talk to children regarding COVID-19.

Message to Children from LEGO Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: In March 2020 during one of his daily press conferences, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a message for Canadian children about how they can do their part in the fight against COVID-19. It's a powerful statement, one that deserves a version all kids will want to watch.

The Flipside Life: A unique space dedicated to the diverse and dynamic community of spouses and partners of medical students, residents and staff physicians which provides support to enhance the lives of physician families, including mental health and well-being. The Flipside provides virtual confidential peer support Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. EST. For more information contact Hayley Harlock, Founder.

Health & Fitness

Fitness Blender: This free exercise website containing workouts for all levels recommended by a wellness coach at Mayo Clinic's Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center.

DownDog: Yoga, HIIT, Barre and targeted workouts free for healthcare professionals until July 1, 2020.

8fit: Health and fitness app with free workouts.

Beachbody on Demand: Access to world class at-home workouts and programs 24/7.

Fun Apps & Activities

McMaster Campus Sculpture Tour: English guided tour of the sculptures and art displays around McMaster University’s central campus.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada: Introductory astronomy lessons held virtually through YouTube on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. EST.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat: Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals are provided to general public free of charge for 48 hours via YouTube.

Cirque du Soleil: Hour long special from Cirque du Soleil available on YouTube.

Hamilton Public Library: Register for a library card online and download the Libby app for access to e-books and audio books.

Virtual Museum Tours: A collection of virtual museum tours from Canadian top museums.

Virtual Zoo Tours: A collection of virtual zoo tours from Canadian top zoos.

Canada’s Wonderland: Virtual rides of Canada’s Wonderland theme park rides.

Art Gallery of Ontario: Experience the Art Gallery of Ontario virtually with stories and experiences of different exhibits.

Videos & Podcasts

OMA Podcasts: Spotlight on Health: Various medical professionals providing insights and answering patient questions specific to COVID-19.

Three Steps to Coping: YouTube video by Drs. Bob Maunder and Jon Hunter focused on coping strategies for healthcare professionals.

Alberta Health Services - COVID-19 Podcasts: A variety of podcasts for healthcare professionals on topics relating to COVID-19.