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From the Summer 2022 Issue

Mental Health Resources for Condominium Managers

Mental Health in Condos

Feature || Daryl Norrie, RCM

The COVID pandemic has caused an unnatural state of being for most people. Humans are naturally social creatures and two years of social distancing and isolation have taken its toll on the mental health of many folks. Mental illness has significantly increased over the last two years and affected not only individuals, the health care system but many condominium communities as well.

Property Management can be a challenging job at the best of times, but with the pandemic and the associated increased stress of the past two years, the job often has been difficult for many managers. With an increasing number of young people and older retired people living in condominiums, there are two very different mental health issues staff and managers may find some of their residents trying to maneuver.

At the bottom of this article, you will find useful resources to help support your residents.

Recognizing Mental Illness
There are simple things managers can do that can be of significant assistance for their residents dealing with mental health issues, particularly addiction and dementia. First and foremost, it is important to recognize that mental health illness is just that, an illness, and people suffering should never be labelled as the illness. As an example, you would never say a person is cancer, you would say they have cancer or are battling cancer. It is no different than a person who has an addiction or is battling addiction. Addiction, like cancer, does not discriminate. It can affect any person at any time given the right circumstances. That’s why it is very important to separate the illness from the person, it shows respect and no judgement to the person suffering from the disease.

There are many professional services available to help people and their families who are coping with addiction or dementia. Managers can go to their province or city’s websites or the Center for Mental Health and Addiction (CAMH) website to find lists of services available for each of these very different mental illnesses. These resources can then be posted on the bulletin boards or websites of the condominium.

For residents that may be battling addiction, it’s always a good idea to have Naloxone Kits (usually more than one) on-site as part of the First Aid Kits for the building. They are free at most drugstores and could save a person’s life. All staff, especially security, superintendents and management should have First Aid training and part of that training should be AED and Naloxone administration. These skills are literally lifesaving.

The other thing to consider is if the police or EMS need to be called. If a resident is behaving in a manner that would require a call to the police and the resident happens to be battling addiction, then it’s important to identify that to the police and request a Crisis Team. If a person is experiencing a drug-induced psychotic break they need a hospital, and the Crisis Team are properly trained to get them there.

Seniors’ Issues
With older residents that may be suffering from dementia, a crisis team will also be able to properly assist the person if they are agitated or aggressive. For older residents, particularly those that may be living alone it is important for the staff to keep an eye out for them. If they regularly go out and haven’t been seen for a few days, the manager may want to contact the emergency contact person and ask them to check in with the resident or ask them to place a wellness check call to the police. If the emergency contact isn’t available and the manager has tried to call the resident or knock on the door, they may want to contact the police for a wellness check. Any unusual odours that the cleaning staff or security may smell while doing patrol on the floors should be reported to management right away. If a person has passed away in their unit, it’s not something that should get missed for days or weeks at a time.

For all residents, it’s important to have a “Vacation/Away Form.” This helps managers know if a resident should be home or not. It also helps if there is a contact person on the form in the event of an emergency.

Safety First
Things you can do to support your staff is to ensure they have the appropriate equipment to safely do their job, especially if your condominium is in a higher-risk neighbourhood that may be located near homeless shelters. For your superintendents and cleaners, you can have bio-waste containers and thick rubber gloves for
handling garbage that may contain needles. These items can be found through many of the cleaning supply companies that support your site.

Center for Mental Health and
Addiction (CAMH)

Canadian Mental Health
Association (CMHA)


Ontario Government

Suicide Prevention Hotline

Kid’s Help Phone Hotline

Seniors Safety Hotline


Daryl Norrie, RCM, has been a property manager for 11 years, earning her RCM designation in 2014. She is presently a Senior Property Manager for Crossbridge Condominium Services Ltd.

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