COVID-19 Virtual Psychosocial Support Groups

March 24, 2020

Dear colleagues,

COVID-19 is a pandemic infectious disease that has created immense distress on the Canadian society. In health care, the number of patients will continue to increase and push the health care system to its limit. Our clinicians, educators, and managers who make up the majority of our learners are at the centre of the fight against COVID-19, and are facing unprecedented challenges and stress: increased work load, difficult clinical circumstances, and higher risk of infection. Thank you for your service, dedication and commitment to patients, families and our communities.

We are doing our part to help support your practices. As you know, we sent messages recently regarding upcoming deadlines and courses and our commitment to offering flexibility wherever possible. We will continue to deliver courses during this time as they provide a helpful distraction and allow you to continue to meet your personal goals. We also plan to continue supporting cancer patients through our therapist led support groups on Cancer Chat Canada. Please feel free to direct your patients to this resource for support if you find that they are unable to receive in person care.

As a new initiative to support all health care professionals in Ontario, de Souza Institute is organizing weekly virtual psychological support groups lead by Executive Director Dr. Mary Jane Esplen. These groups will provide a platform for clinicians to discuss fear, normalize stress reactions, share solidarity, and learn about effective coping strategies to build resilience and enhance coping.

Each group session will accept registration until the group start time or until the group is full. The sessions listed below are intended to support those working night shifts or daytime hours, but more will become available if needed.

Our groups have now concluded, please see the Pause 4 Providers initiative below for an alternative.


During this time of elevated stress and anxiety, it is also important to incorporate moments of mindfulness into your day. To learn how, join the 30-minute virtual mindfulness groups lead by Dr. Jennifer Hirsch, Dr. Mary Elliott, Dr. Orit Zamir, and Dr. Diane Meschino every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30pm. Please refer to the following flyer for more information: Mindfulness Flyer or visit their website:

These are challenging and stressful times, but it is important that we all aim to maintain our own well-being and resilience.

Thank you,
de Souza Institute