How can I tell whether I should seek professional help for COVID-19-related stress or anxiety?
Look for warning signs such as the following:
- Persistent anxiety, worry, insomnia, or irritability.
- Needlessly avoiding social contacts to the point that you become unnecessarily isolated.
- Persistently checking your body (e.g., taking your temperature many times each day) or persistently seeking reassurance about your health from doctors, friends, family, or the Internet.
- Performing excessive or unnecessary hygiene precautions, such as wearing a facemask at home or repeatedly washing your hands when there is no need to do so.
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, or overeating, as a way of coping with stress.
- Feedback from friends or family that you seem unusually worried or stressed out.
How can I get help with stress or anxiety? Psychological treatments can be very effective, sometimes more effective than medication, in helping people recover from anxiety. To find a psychologist, you can consult the psychological association in your province or city. Your local hospital, community health clinic, local public health department, or primary care provider (e.g., family doctor or nurse practitioner) may also be of assistance.
How Do I Cope?
Most of the mental health resources available agree on the following six points:
1. Read up but switch topics to prevent getting overwhelmed
2. Take Care of Yourself (nutrition, exercise, routine, and rest all remain important)
3. Stay Connected to those you care about
4. Help Others If You Can - one person at a time, we can make a difference
5. Explore Coping Strategies - ask each other about symptoms and travel, use anxiety management skills
6. Plan your life - Make practical changes, gather things you need, make an emergency kit, Do what you CAN do!
For more details, check out these links:
Science-based strategies to cope with coronavirus
American Psychological Association suggests
Story of the Oyster and the Butterfly: COVID Virus and Me