Adult Mental Health in the COVID-19 Context

No Results Found 0/0
Please note that at this time, the content on this page is not being regularly updated.

Now more than ever it is important for your patients to look after their health and receive care from you as their healthcare provider. It’s essential that patients continue to seek out care that they need.

This tool has has been developed to support primary care providers in navigating and providing patient care in a world where COVID-19 is the ‘new normal’, with considerations and recommendations on what’s ‘new’ and what’s ‘changed’ in the delivery of care for adults living with previously diagnosed and/or new mental health conditions. While how care is delivered has changed, efforts should be made to ensure that the quality has not. As always, when treating your patients, continue to use your clinical judgement and follow standards of care, best practices, evidence and guidelines.

Key takeaway

For patients requiring urgent care:

If your patient is experiencing a mental health crisis, they should call 911 or report to their local emergency department. For a list of crisis lines in Ontario, visit

Consult COVID-19 and the Mental Health Act (CAMH, 2020) for information on the completion of Form 1s, and guidance on the completion of Form 1, 3, 4, 4A, 49 and capacity assessments via phone or video.

The COVID-19 pandemic may cause or exacerbate mental health conditions. In addition, barriers for patient access to supports and treatments have or may lead to negative health outcomes.  Therefore, proactive identification and management of adult patients with or at risk of developing mental health conditions should be followed to ensure continuity of care.

Click on the sections below to get started:

What’s new, what’s changed

Jump to:


Putting it into practice


Scenarios to consider for patients with pre-existing mental health conditions

  • Patient in active treatment and in an active phase of symptoms prior the pandemic (March 11, 2020).
  • Patient was on maintenance treatment, but is now in partial remission.
  • Patient had been in full remission and stable, and is now undergoing relapse.

Scenarios to consider for new cases

  • Conditions now surfacing because of circumstances involving isolation, stress, and fear, but which were previously mitigated by activities and supports.
  • Mental health conditions due to the patient’s response to an absence of regular routines, in addition to pandemic-induced stress.

Putting it into practice

Diagnoses can be done remotely using validated self-report instruments. For patients undergoing a relapse, determine if presentation is consistent with prior diagnosis and treat accordingly. If the patient is presenting with new and/or different symptoms, conduct a formal assessment using:


Management of adult patients with pre-existing or newly diagnosed mental health conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic consists of a tailored treatment plan for each individual that consists of ensuring patient access to treatment, providing patients with remote/virtual supports and following-up on the effects of the treatment in regular intervals.

Putting it into practice

Managing pre-existing mental health conditions

Managing new cases of mental health conditions