CMHA offers tips to support mental health amid concerns of COVID-19 pandemic
(Toronto, March 13, 2020) – Amid public concerns of the developing COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) experts are reminding individuals with exacerbated anxiety and depression symptoms of how to manage their mental wellness at this time of uncertainty.
CMHA York and South Simcoe’s CEO Rebecca Shields and clinical director Dr. Deanne Simms offer these five basic tips to help individuals experiencing heightened mental health concerns to remain calm and balanced as this public health situation unfolds.
- Considering the level of attention and seriousness being paid to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s normal to feel anxious. Try not to avoid, ignore or suppress anxious thoughts. Instead, be aware of your anxiety and accept that you’re feeling anxious in this situation. Try to keep things in perspective; notice and challenge your thoughts that may be extreme or unhelpful.
- Self-care is critically important at this time, as worries can be made worse if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Lean on social supports, try to get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise and engage in enjoyable activities. Do the things you would typically do to support your health, and be sure to use caution and follow health and safety guidelines while doing them.
- Seek information from reliable news sources only. Limit checking in on the latest news to short, defined periods, and refrain from setting related push notifications on your device. Appropriate information consumption may be calming and can lessen the sense of danger.
- Take the recommended precautions as outlined by Health Canada and other credible health agencies. Remain focused on the factors within your control, such as washing hands, covering your mouth during coughs and sneezes, avoiding non-essential travel, etc.
- If you’re noticing that your symptoms of anxiety (in association with COVID-19 or otherwise) are causing you significant distress or are interfering with your ability to function normally, reach out for formal mental health supports from a recognized agency, such as CMHA.
CMHA Ontario and branches around the province provide programs and services to support your mental wellness, such as BounceBack, walk-in counselling, information on stress management, and much more. Learn more and find a local branch at ontario.cmha.ca.
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization funded by the provincial Ministry of Health. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health. Our 29 local CMHA branches, together with community-based mental health and addictions service providers across the province, serve approximately 500,000 Ontarians each year.
Mental Health Works is a nationwide social enterprise of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division. It provides capacity-building workshops, presentations and webinars that are person-centred, evidence-based, and solutions-focused. Learn more at www.mentalhealthworks.ca.