Pandemics can heighten people’s anxieties and depression and COVID-19 is no different.
Canadian Mental Health Association Executive Director at the Prince George Branch Maureen Davis said being anxious during this period is perfectly normal.
“These are very unusual times,” she said. “But on the other hand, [people should] be careful that this doesn’t take over their lives. If they find themselves thinking about COVID-19 24/7 or they are feeling a general sense of anxiety or depression as a result, that it is probably time to start reaching out and connecting with people —whoever might be available within their healthcare system.”
She added that it is a good idea to limit exposure to ongoing news about COVID-19.
“Check in twice a day and [don’t] leave the TV or radio on a news station just being inundated with the coronavirus— especially if you have children at home who could be vulnerable to developing an anxiety problem during this time period.”
Anyone who is already dealing with a type of mental illness or anxiety disorder should be aware that a pandemic can make things worse.
“It becomes critically important that they remain attached, whether it is by phone or email or text, to whoever has been a support before,” Davis added. “If it is possible, amp that up a bit. It can also be helpful to look around for others that they can support, reach out to others. [The problem] with mental illnesses is that it has you turning inwards, [it’s] critically important to turn outwards, reach out for help or try to help others.”
Davis also advised people to get some fresh air, and try to to do something you’ve always wanted to learn or do but never had the time.
There are tools online that can help people cope such as the BounceBack program and heretohelp.bc.ca