Helping to get us through . . .


Table of contents for this page 

  • Featured Picks! 
  • A Message to Families
  • Taking Care of Ourselves and Others
  • Connecting with Others, Building Community
  • Local Supports, Windsor and Essex County Resources
    • Food Security and Assistance
    • Mental Health Supports
  • More Resources for Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Trusted Information Sources about COVID-19

Note: Scroll down to the topics you are interested in. Click on the blue titles/links below for more information or to open a resource.  Updates and new resources are added from time to time. Updates were made in Nov. 2022. New resources were added in Dec. 2022.

Featured Picks!  


Relationships – Our Keys to a Good Life                                                                                                  This news brief was created to support people with disabilities, families and friends who have been thinking about relationships and ways to make more connections. Written by Windsor-Essex Family Network, this one-pager points to resources for exploring as time allows, and encourages the reader to choose the type of resources and ideas that would work best for them.  We all learn differently. Winter can be a good time to explore things, especially if it is too cold to go outside. 


Bell Let’s Talk                                                                                                                                                 January 25, 2023 – Bell Let’s Talk Day. This is the day, each year, that reminds us to have conversations about mental health struggles, and to take some kind of action for ourselves or someone else we care about.  Something for us to think about all year long – taking action to create positive change!  Check out this website for Canadian mental health initiatives and organizations funded by Bell Let’s Talk. Also check out the great tools and resources that are available for use.  Two examples of tools on this website follow:  Bell Lets Talk Kindness Box  (A great template for preparing messages of appreciation for someone you care about, or even yourself, with instructions on how to make a Kindness Box to put them in.)   Mandala Art 2023  (A Mandala for printing out and colouring in.)  More tools and resources can be found at:


Ontario doctor’s share mental health tips for holiday season, December 2022                “Dealing with pandemic fatigue, focusing on the positives and staying connected with friends and family are some of the Ontario Medical Association’s key mental health tips for this holiday season and winter months.”  Their first tip: “Give yourself a break. If you’re still feeling stressed about the pandemic almost three years after it started, your feelings are valid.”   For seven more practical, doable and timely tips, read this News Release.    

Tips from Ontario’s doctors for celebrating the holidays safely, December 2022                   “This is the first holiday season since mandatory COVID-19 public health measures have been lifted, yet COVID is still circulating widely in Ontario along with the flu and RSV.” Ontario’s doctors offer us a few tips to stay healthy as we gather and celebrate with friends, family and colleagues.


Things to do as a family when it is cold and wet outside!                                                          Updated November 2022: During the winter of 2021/22 we encouraged folks to take a look at the WEFN December 2021 Newsletter for ideas. Don’t be fooled by the title, a good part of the newsletter has ideas for individuals and families that can be done outside of holiday times while hunkering down in cold or wet weather. We don’t know yet what Winter 2022/23 will bring – but we expect there may be times for being cautious and careful. Many of the ideas can be used in person with family members, neighbours and friends at various times of the year.  Some examples:  Instead of an ugly holiday sweater contest for one of your gatherings – what about doing ‘ugly winter sweaters’. Ask people to get imaginative and attach weird things to their sweaters! Your kids could get something vintage out of their parents’ drawers and tell a story about it!  A family photo in vintage or goofy clothing might be fun. How about planning a virtual trip to a cool museum, aquarium or far away country. Each week someone else could take a turn choosing the place! It’s all inside the newsletter! So check it out, get inspired and come up with some of your own ideas.  

A Message to Families – Updated November 2022

Families living with disabilities, have had a great deal at stake with the corona virus pandemic. Often loved ones with disabilities are harder hit, and times of isolation so much more difficult. As families living with disability during this unprecedented time in history, we have tried to share information and resources keeping you and your family in mind . . . family-to-family. 

Staying home more, staying safe, washing hands, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting more frequently become a new norm – yet have any of us really completely adapted. Day-to-day routines changed. Many of our children, teens and adults came through this time feeling isolated not able to go out as much, or to familiar places . . . and are frustrated. Worries are heightened for many because of a loved one’s medical and complex needs – whether that be grandparents, parents or individuals with disabilities.  Families who took on the role of teacher with on-line processes that are unfamiliar, are still sensitive to those times students must stay home for whatever reason. As we take in news each day, we can still experience additional anxiety (with our families continuously at the forefront of our minds.)  As many have started to live ‘with Covid’ as they say, there is an understanding that people can still get very sick, and some folks will die. Along with that are other viruses coming on strong as well. Medical experts are saying that our best defense is to continue wearing a mask indoors when we can’t distance from folks and/or in crowded settings, stay up to date on vaccinations, continue to wash our hands well, and stay home when we are sick.  

It’s okay to feel out of sorts. As resilient and flexible as we are as families, there has been a fall-out of sorts with Covid, a back-draft of emotions and adjustments.  Some families have told us they are forever changed. While trying to stay positive, we will have good days and bad. Let’s be forgiving on the bad days.  For those bad days, we continue to find listening to this amazing anthem of resilience and hope, written by a song writer from Nova Scotia, uplifting. Sung by a choir of women physicians, it is called Rise Again .

Navigating through endless streams of resources is overwhelming. Our goal with this page has been to offer some tips, links and resources that you can go to easily as needed.  Where we found something done well, we decided to just point you in that direction.  . . . . You will see the site changing over the next few months with an emphasis on Health and Wellness, and taking care of ourselves as family caregivers, friends and allies. Stay Safe. Be well. Continue being kind to yourself and others!

Taking Care of Ourselves and Others

Many articles have been written on ways to take ourselves. We put together a simple list of what  the experts are saying to us: 

  • Eat right, exercise, get plenty of rest
  • Get outside for some fresh air or open a window
  • Limit the amount of time we watch the news, choose reliable information sources
  • Watch something funny or do something you are interested in every day
  • Put some structure or a routine into your day that works for you
  • Stay connected with others, take care of your mental health
  • Take deep breaths; consider a mindfulness practice
  • Reach out and help others with things you can do while isolating
  • Show gratitude, be thankful where we can.

We have chosen a few resource links to help with a few things on this list.

Four things to do to enhance sense of community and personal well-being                                 A wonderful article written by John Lord with insightful thoughts on enhancing our relationships and our well-being. John Lord has been an amazing resource and support to Windsor-Essex Family Network and others in this community over many years. He has worked hard for inclusion over decades so that people with disabilities and others who are vulnerable would be included in their communities. He lives in Waterloo.   

Sleep hygiene to fight COVID-19                                                                                                              A good read with excellent ideas in this article written by Dr. Diane McIntosh, Chief Neuroscience Officer with Telus Health.  “Good sleep is essential to maintain physical and mental health, but it’s also critical for learning and retaining new information . . .”   

Compassion Series Colouring Pages – for all ages                                                                             Amazing downloadable colouring pages on various themes including: COVID-19 pages: I love and miss you, and Thank you; Honour Drum pages; Am I safe? pages; Who’s your Hero? pages; and more. Think about colouring a page for a neighbour, friend or even yourself! Put some some up in your windows or inside your home to cheer others up.  

COVID-19 Disability Resources                                                                                                          Inclusion Canada is sharing disability-related resources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic on this page, pulled together in one spot for individuals and families. They are continuing to update the page throughout the pandemic so that people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families can easily find important information.  The page also highlights some plain language info by People First and other groups.

For Anyone Who Needs to Hear This:  It’s OK to Just Exist Right Now                                          Even though we are nearing the end of 2022,  our pandemic experiences may have some of us still struggling to find our footing. With the backdraft of the pandemic affecting people in different ways, we continue to point to this article where the author states we might be tempted to feel guilty and anxious about not being productive enough . . . .  I’ve come up with the term and action plan of being a ‘full-time human being,’ which could help me take care of myself better and chip away at my guilt and shame associated with doing nothing and taking time for self-care”.  This article is a good read for anyone struggling with anxiety about their day-to-day productivity and/or how they are spending their time.  

Connecting with Others, Building ‘Community’

Reaching out to our personal networks and relationships at this time is a good thing.  Staying connected while physically distancing is very important. It keeps us more grounded and helps us fell less isolated.  It is something we can do for our own well-being and for others. It builds community, capacity and resilience. The easiest ways we might connect are by: phone, email, texting, or Facebook messaging. Never underestimate the power of a regular phone call when reaching out, or an old fashioned note for someone who lives nearby.  Other ways people are using to connect with family and friends, for those who know the technology might be: Facetime, Skype, Zoom, etc.  Check out some of the articles and information below. 

10 ways to stay connected while staying at home                                                                        Good ideas for all of us we found on the Brain Injury Canada website. . . .”Physical distancing means we’re all spending a lot more time at home. Many of us are missing those person-to-person connections. It’s easy to feel lonely. But there are plenty of ways you can stay connected with your family and friends while physical distancing.”

Intentional Inclusion: Cultivating Circles of Support                                                                 Circles of Support, relevant even now. This may be the best time to consider who to ask to participate on a circle of support.  This webinar by Think College is well done and timely. . . . .           “Hear from a parent (Janice) and sibling (Emma) about how they have used Circles of Support with their son and brother, and how it’s also a model that has been used in schools and communities around the country . . . . Learn what (and who!) makes up a Circle of Support.  . . . Get valuable tools to invite people, host Circles gatherings, and keep things going.”

Staying socially connected during the global pandemic                                                                    A tip sheet Published by PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Networks), sourced  from the website of Partners for Planning, a PLAN affiliate in Ontario. This tip sheet starts with the following statement:  “Make a list of people you are concerned about and make a plan to stay in touch with them.”  It then presents five good ideas to get you started.

Sib Share – A Meet-up of Adult Siblings in Windsor-Essex                                                                     Sib Share is an informal monthly gathering (fall through June) of adult siblings from Windsor and Essex County.  As siblings we believe our experiences and perspectives are unique to us, and also different from our parents.  We appreciate meeting other siblings who understand ‘what it’s like’, and having the opportunity to get-together to chat about all things related to being an adult sister or brother of someone with a disability. For more information email us at this address:

Parents for Children’s Mental Health – Windsor-Essex Chapter                                                      Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH) is a volunteer, peer lead support. We do not provide any crisis services.  We offer family-to-family support and experiences.  To learn about our local chapter’s support group meetings, including dates and times, click here: PCMH (Windsor-Essex) Support Group Flyer-Fall 2022.  To connect with a family peer support volunteer with the Windsor-Essex Chapter you can email: .

Local Supports during COVID-19                                                    Windsor & Essex County Resources 

Food Bank Programs        


  • UHC – Hub of Opportunities:
    • 6955 Cantelon Drive, Windsor, ON N8T 3J9
    • Phone: 519-944-4900;
    • WALK-UP HOURS: Mon, Wed, and Fri. – 9:30 am to 2:00 pm
  • Adie Knox:
    • 1551 Wyandotte St. West, Windsor, ON N9B 1H6
    • DRIVE THRU/WALK-UP HOURS: Tues. & Thurs. from 11 am until supplies last

WINDSOR ESSEX FOOD BANK ASSOCIATION MEMBER LIST (with Hours & Locations) Use the title link for a list of food bank locations and hours. It is recommended that you call ahead in many cases before visiting a food bank to be sure about the hours. Note: UHC is the hub of the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association.

Mental Health Supports

Regional Children’s Counselling Clinic Telephone Service      519-257-KIDS                            Quick confidential access to mental health services for children, youth (up to 18) and their families.  Available Monday to Thursday 8 am to 8 pm, and Friday’s 8 am to 4:30 pm. For more information:

Windsor-Essex Counselling Support Line    519-946-3277 or 1-877-451-1055                     Available to provide telephone counselling services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Support Line is available to EVERYONE in Windsor and Essex County, including individuals, couples, seniors and families. The Support Line is meant to assist people experiencing mild to moderate distress.

Community Crisis Centre    519-973-4435                                                                                         24/7 telephone crisis response service for those with severe mental health conditions or experiencing a crisis who require immediate assessment, psycho-social intervention, and support.  (For emergencies call 911)

Mental Health and Addictions Urgent Care Centre   519-257-5111                                              This new service is intended for individuals aged 16 years or older who are experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis who cannot safely wait for community mental health and addiction support. The ‘centre’ will also serve those who are in or who are at risk of a worsening mental health condition that may require hospitalization. Location: Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor-Essex County Branch, 1400 Windsor Ave., Windsor.  Hours of operation & services:       

  • Mon    11:30 am-7:30 pm    Brief Psychotherapy and Psychosocial Support
  • Tues    8:30 am-4:30 pm      Urgent Psychiatric Assessment and Consultation
  • Wed    11:30 am-7:30 pm    Medical Assessment and Monitoring
  • Thur   11:30 am-7:30 pm     Connection to community-based services
  • Fri       8:30 am– 4:30 pm     Addiction Management Services

Kids Help Phone   1-800-668-6868

More Resources for Mental Health & Well-being


How to Talk to Your Anxious Child about Covid-19                                                                              Children’s Mental Health Ontario has published a good blog with seven ways to on how to talk with children and youth, as well as how to deal with things as parents. More resources are listed at the end of the blog.

Am I safe? Exploring Fear & Anxiety with children                                                                                In response to the current COVID19 pandemic, the Compassion Series team is offering a measure of hope, care and compassion to children and the grown-ups in their lives with resources and free access to view and read the book  Am I Safe? Exploring Fear and Anxiety with Children.

We are Heroes: A Plain Language Guide about Covid-19                                                                This guide is a good resource to explain some of the changes in our lives. It is written and produced by Autistics for Autistics Ontario (A4A) an autistic-led organization.

Covid-19 Youth Mental Health Resource Hub powered by                                                 A hub of resources to help you take care of yourself and look out for the people you love during this challenging time powered by   All the information needed in one easy-to-access hub so that youth mental health remains top of mind, and our communities are able to easily access the education, tools, support and reliable information they need. 

A guide for mental health during COVID-19                                                                                      While we may feel stressed, it’s important that we all do what we can to create a positive frame of mind and take care of our mental health and well-being – and remember to pay attention to the mental health of others.” To support mental health and well-being, Brain injury Canada has created this guide to help. 

Guide to living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty                                                  Worry and anxiety are common problems at the best of times, and when it takes over it can become all-encompassing.  Psychology Tools has put together this free guide to help you to manage your worry and anxiety in these uncertain times.  


Mental health, wellness and addictions support                                                                            Information from the Ontario government COVID-19 web page                                                             

Coping with stress and anxiety                                                                                              Information from the CAMH: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health website 

Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH)                                                                                  To find a chapter near you, please contact . This is a volunteer, peer lead support email. We do not provide crisis or clinical services of any kind. Our emails will be answered within 48 hours. If you, or someone you love is at immediate risk please contact your local emergency services or dial 911. 

Kids Help Phone     1-800-668-6868                                                                                                        For children or youth between the ages of 5 and 20. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Free, anonymous and confidential. 

On-line resources from the Canadian Mental Health Association website

Trusted Information Sources about COVID-19

Get the most up-to-date on-line information about the virus straight from the source.

If you are not feeling well, and/or think you have symptoms of the virus call your primary care provider (family doctor/nurse practitioner), or call Telehealth Ontario:  1-866-797-0000


Reduce the Spread of COVID-19, Wash Your Hands                                                                    Poster by the Government of Canada

How to Protect Yourself and Others, Covid 19 Prevention Actions                                             Pro-active and timely information from the Centers for Disease Control and Infections (CDC), USA.

Caregiver Mental Health During COVID-19 Outbreak                                                                           Tip sheet by the Ontario Caregiver Organization

10 things you can do right now to reduce anxiety, stress, worry related to COVID-19                 Tip sheet by the Canadian Health Association (CMHA) BounceBack program