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Online courses for mental health during pandemic

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

For those feeling the effects of social distancing and self-isolation, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Durham is providing courses to help those in need.

To support Mental Health Week, CMHA Durham’s recovery college has, in a sense, opened back up. The college is offering online courses designed to help people connect and develop skills which will help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marie Logan, CMHA Durham’s lead adult educator for the Recovery College Wellness Centre, says there are a number of courses available right now, and will run until the pandemic is over.

“We have a few courses that we’ve designed for our staff, and a few courses that are designed for the general public, and our current clients and students,” she says.

One course is the “Bucket List Makeover,” which will see clients take a traditional bucket list and give it a makeover.

“We’re talking about ‘Oh, I wish I could go for a cup of coffee with a friend,’ or ‘I wish I could have a glass of wine or go to a birthday party,’ whatever the case may be,” she explains. “So when you find yourself saying those things out loud, you add them to the bucket list, and then when all of this physical and social distancing is over, you pick from the bucket list and go out and do it.”

There’s another course available called “Coping with Change,” which is about change fatigue and is available to the public and staff.

“This course talks about the fact that so much of our lives are changing, and how do you sort of keep up when there’s no new normal, and that can create added stress on your mental health,” explains Logan.

Another course available to everyone is “Spellbook,” which is a curated collection of do-it-yourself recipes, from bubble baths, to bath bombs, to sharing recipes for nutrition.

“It’s a really fun little class,” she says.

While there are other courses available, such as Jedi Mindfulness, more are on the way, according to Logan.

Some upcoming courses include a post-pandemic visionboard class, courses about finding meaning during the pandemic, and the organization is exploring what they can offer after all is said and done.

Logan explains CMHA Durham started the recovery college in September, and had to shutter the doors because of COVID-19. However, they didn’t want to see the recovery college “go away.”

“We started off using the recovery college as a platform to support staff, because we knew that they were going to need ways to deal, and we thought a lot of these were really easy to create public versions of, and we can make them available,” she says.

Logan says to continue checking out New classes available to the public are released on Tuesdays.