Crisis lines and mental health professionals are seeing a jump in calls as Canadians come to try to deal with the unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly drastic measures aimed at containing coronavirus.
People are very anxious about what’s happening. People are feeling worried and scared. But social isolation doesn’t mean emotional isolation. If you need to talk to someone, here are some supports available:
CRISIS TEXT LINE CANADA
Text HOME to 686868 in Canada to text with a trained Crisis Responder.
Every texter is connected with a Crisis Responder, a real-life human being trained to bring texters from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening and collaborative problem-solving.
Here are some tips from Anxiety Canada:
Even people who don’t usually struggle with anxiety are experiencing more worry and anxiety now. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re experiencing more anxiety than usual.
Limit the news & unplug from social media
Understandably coronavirus is the lead story for most news outlets. People on social media are likewise sharing information and stories, some of which are accurate but others may have little to do with reality. By limiting or eliminating contact with media you can help yourself manage your own anxiety and worry. If you cannot eliminate contact with media, control it: Make sure that your information only comes from reputable sources
Stop talking about coronavirus
Water cooler chat with coworkers and sharing the latest details with family and friends will be common. But: it keeps us thinking about it, which will influence our sense of threat/risk.
To counteract this, don’t initiate the conversation and change the subject if it does come up. If you’re comfortable doing so, ask friends and family to not discuss the coronavirus news updates with you. Not only will this help you feel less anxious, it’ll help others too.
Good hand hygiene – although COVID-19 is a novel virus, it’s still a virus and handwashing remains one of the best ways to protect yourself. Follow the guidelines of your local public health agency, Health Canada, or the World Health Organization.
Washing your hands for 20 seconds with warm water is sufficient protection. Don’t set a timer as it will establish a false sense of security and certainty. Remember we live in an uncertain world and we need to be able to tolerate some uncertainty.
Stop touching your face – viruses enter our bodies through our eyes, nose and mouth. The coronavirus can also be inhaled if you are standing close to someone who coughs or sneezes without covering their nose or mouth. Many people touch their faces out of habit. Habits can be changed if you commit to it.
Social distancing – during the period when coronavirus is active it may be reasonable to disengage the usual greeting of handshaking, hugging and kissing and keeping a distance of 1 metre (3 feet) from someone who’s exhibiting symptoms. And importantly, to prevent the spread of infection, if you are feeling unwell and have a fever or a cough, please stay home and limit interactions with people in your home.
You are not alone and help is available.