As we finish up week 8 of the strike, reaching out to members to make sure they were taking care of their mental health is well overdue. Being on strike is not only a draining physical event, but also one that can wear on morale, cause considerable anxiety, and exacerbate depression.
The good news is, it is easier than ever to get help.
Here are a few resources you can take advantage of.
Immediate walk in care: If you feel you need immediate care, there are counsellors available to talk to.
- Toronto Distress Line – this centre is run by volunteers and offers help through either their phone line, online chat, or text chat options. The 24 hour line is available at 416-408-4357. The online chat or texting service is available between 2pm and 2am. To chat online, go to: https://www.torontodistresscentre.com/ontx. To text, simply send your first text message 741741.
- CAMH College Street site: This is designated as an ‘emergency centre’, but according to CAMH ‘emergency is loosely defined’. Feel free to walk in to speak with a counsellor.
250 College Street (College and Spadina)
Toronto, Ontario M5T 1R8
Google map to site
Getting there by TTC: take the 506 College streetcar and exit at Spadina Avenue, or take the 510 Spadina streetcar and exit at College Street, or plan your trip using the TTC’s Trip Planner.
Underground parking (for Russell Street and College Street) is available on a first come first serve basis. There is also street meter parking if underground parking is unavailable. Enter off of Spadina Street.Paid Parking: Cash and credit card accepted. There are Discounted Visitor Parking Rates available.
- Gerstein Centre. Located downtown, this community mental health crisis centre also boasts a crisis line and a mobile team.
Crisis line: 416-929-5200
100 Charles Street East
Toronto, ON M4Y 1V3
Your Mental Health Coverage:
The most important one to know about is your own health plan. Not only do you not need a referral to see either a therapist, psychoanalyst, or psychologist but you have 100% coverage for up to $2000.00 per calendar year at any given office (which can be supplemented by Extended Health Benefits if necessary) and online filing for your refund is incredibly simple.
If you are not yet enrolled for the mysunlife.ca website, see details at the bottom. If you are enrolled with mysunlife, feel free to book an appointment with a trusted and licensed therapist, you will be asked to pay in the office (unless otherwise instructed). To claim reimbursement login to mysunlife.com, click submit a claim from the main menu and select paramedical e-claim and follow the prompts.
The following office is not recommended by CUPE 3903 but is tried and tested by several members. CBT Associates has offices in North York, Midtown Toronto, Downtown Toronto, Etobicoke, Aurora, and Unionville. In addition to being accessible by TTC, they also offer placement services which matches you to a specialist.
If you don’t feel like going for formal counselling, there are online resources that might be of service. 7cups.com is an online free one-on-one chat with trained listeners and also offers inexpensive therapy options. betterhelp.com is another online, phone, or text relatively inexpensive therapy.
How to enroll with mysunlife.ca:
At the moment, we recommend downloading the CUPE Benefits Enrollment Form found here, fill it out (your employee number can be found on your pay stubs at the top, it is 9 digits starting with a “1”), and scan a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. It ordinarily takes 1-2 weeks for enrollment – check with Sun Life Insurance two weeks after submitting the enrollment form to see if you are registered in their system. However, as you are covered from the date of enrollment whether you are registered in the system or not, feel free to book appointments.
Further details can be found: https://3903.cupe.ca/benefits-plan/