covid-19, Health Services

Managing COVID-19 stress and anxiety 

Older adults, 65 years and older, are at higher risk for severe illness following infection from COVID-19. Anxiety is a normal response to the current situation. Here are some tips to help you to remain calm and balanced as this public health crisis evolves.

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1. LET GO
Tell yourself you need to accept there are things beyond your control. Focus on things  you can control, such as washing hands, covering your mouth during coughs and sneezes, social distancing and non-essential trips to the store.

2. UNPLUG YOURSELF 
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news and social media. Constant information overload about the pandemic can cause more anxiety.

3. KNOW THE FACTS
Seek information from reliable news sources only. Limit checking in on the latest news to short, defined periods. While you might plan to go online to get quick updates to stay informed, before you know it, you’ve spent hours jumping from one story to the next and becoming more anxious than ever.
Government of Saskatchewan
Government of Canada 
World Health Organization 

4. KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
Try to keep things in perspective; notice and challenge your thoughts if they may be extreme or unhelpful. Remind yourself that most people experience mild illness from the new coronavirus, many people will pull through, and this crisis will end.

5. SELF-CARE ROUTINE 
Look after  your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs. Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy such as reading, crafts or playing with pets.

6. STAY CONNECTED
Connect with others and lean on social supports. To flatten the curve we must practice social and physical distancing but you can still stay in touch by text, phone calls, social media, virtual chats e.g. Facetime or Skype.

 7. SEEK HELP
If you notice that your symptoms of anxiety (in association with COVID-19 or otherwise) are causing you distress or interfere with your ability to function normally, reach out for mental health supports available to help you through this difficult time.

Mental Health Supports

Saskatchewan HealthLine 8-1-1

Mobile Crisis [City of Saskatoon] 24-HOUR CRISIS LINE PHONE: +1 (306) 933-6200

Walk-in Counselling – Family Service Saskatoon
Phone counselling will be offered during our regular office hours – Monday – Friday,  9am – 5pm. Call (306) 244-0127 within those times for more information.

Canadian Mental Health Association – Saskatoon Branch Inc. is continuing to provide support, counseling, system and community navigation and referral for ALL who need it during the COVID 19 pandemic. Staff are available to talk to you, connect on FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or just over the phone, about anything. Services are free and confidential, for everyone.
Phone – 306-384-9333 – leave a message in their general mailbox and a Mental Health Worker will get back to you ASAP.
Email – info@cmhasaskatoon.ca – they check this continuously and someone will get back to you right away.

Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support
Wellness Together Canada provides free online resources, tools, apps and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals when needed.

HOPE FOR WELLNESS HELP LINE Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat. 

CRISIS SERVICES CANADA 1-833-456-4566 Available to all Canadians seeking support. Support is also available by text at 45645, from 4 PM to midnight EST

References:

Government of Saskatchewan: Mental Health Resources
Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
The Globe and Mail: Tips for Managing Anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic

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