10 things you can do right now to reduce anxiety, stress, worry related to COVID-19

Manage your news consumption. Turn off push notifications on your phone and set aside only an hour per day to stay informed from credible, balanced sources.


Keep things in perspective. Try not to avoid, ignore or suppress anxious thoughts. Instead, be aware of your anxiety and challenge your thoughts that may be extreme or unhelpful.


Stay socially connected. While you can’t be together physically, connect with friends and family by phone, text and video applications like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.


Do something good or helpful. Research shows that doing things for others strengthens our #mentalhealth. Check on your neighbours, elderly parents and friends to see if they need any help.


Stay connected with the outdoors. If you’re not required to self-isolate for 14 days, consider going outside for a walk, run or bike ride to enjoy the scenery and fresh air.


Keep your routines. Routines can help reduce mental fatigue. Getting up at your usual time, showering and getting dressed as you normally would for work can be helpful.


Be physically active. Instead of going to the gym, check out some exercise videos online. Housework, walking up and down stairs, and outdoor activities like raking leaves are also sources of physical activity.


Practice mindfulness, meditation or yoga to help you stay grounded and focused when you begin to feel stress and worry in your body, like shortness of breath and tightening in the chest.


Take time to organize your home or do something you’ve been putting off for a while like sorting through your basement or garage for unwanted or recyclable items. Accomplishing such a task may reduce stress and anxiousness.


If you’re noticing that your symptoms of anxiety are causing you significant distress or are interfering with your ability to function normally, consider participating in CMHA’s #BounceBackON program.



CMHA’s BounceBack key part of expanded mental health supports available to all Ontarians during COVID-19 pandemic

Cornwall, April 7, 2020– To help Ontarians navigating the difficult realities in the wake of COVID-19, the Ontario government has announced an expansion of online and virtual mental health supports, including Canadian Mental Health Association’s BounceBack program.

BounceBack is available now, free of charge, to help people experiencing mild to moderate anxiety, stress and other mental health challenges associated with the pandemic.

Grounded in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), BounceBack is a guided self-help approach that is a proven, effective way to help people aged 15 and up who may be feeling low, stressed out, worried, depressed, irritable or angry.

BounceBack participants receive telephone coaching, skill-building workbooks and online videos to help them overcome mild-to-moderate symptoms and gain new skills to regain positive mental health.

BounceBack offers different guided self-help workbooks that include titles such as Understanding Worry and Stress, Overcoming Sleep Problems, Changing Extreme and Unhelpful Thinking, Why Do I Feel So Bad? and 10 Things You Can Do to Feel Happier Straight Away.

BounceBack is not a crisis service or counselling program, but a life-skills course that helps participants develop coping techniques so they can overcome challenges now or in the future. BounceBack coaches are extensively trained in the delivery of the program and are overseen by clinical psychologists. The main responsibilities of BounceBack coaches are to foster skill development, provide motivation and monitor progress. BounceBack telephone coaching is available in more than 15 languages.

To receive telephone coaching, clients must either be referred by a health care practitioner (family doctor, nurse practitioner), or they may self-refer as long as they’re connected with a primary care provider. It’s important that primary care providers maintain responsibility for their clients’ overall well-being during their time in the program as BounceBack coaches are not counsellors or therapists.

“We’re living in an unprecedented time amid this COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re thankful that the provincial government recognizes the effect this widespread uncertainty can have on everyone’s mental health,” said CMHA Champlain East Executive Director, Joanne Ledoux-Moshonas. “We encourage everyone in our community who may be struggling at home to access BounceBack or any of the other expanded mental health services the government has announced.”

To learn more about BounceBack, visit bouncebackontario.ca or call 1-866-345-0224.


Reducing anxiety related to COVID-19

CMHA recognizes that at this time of uncertainty, symptoms of anxiety and depression may be exacerbated. These five basic tips may 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.


Resources for students

Meanwhile, the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health has been publishing new tools to support student mental health, including a crisis resources webpage with provincial, national and international options, an equity, diversity and inclusion toolkit that offers guidance on how to support students from all walks of life, and an info sheet on well-being and the online environment that has tips on supporting student and faculty well-being virtually.








COVID-19 Help for Seniors, People with Disabilities

Do you know an isolated, low-income senior or person with disability who needs support getting the essentials they need to stay home during COVID-19? The Ontario Community Support Program is coordinating local services to deliver meals, groceries, medicine and other essentials during COVID-19. Help keep our community healthy and safe. Find out more and sign up for service at www.ontariocommunitysupport.ca, or call 211.  Toll Free: 1-877-330-3213; TTY: 1-888-340-1001.


Online Resources for Mental Wellness and Social Connection


Information Tip sheets on Suicide Prevention and Grief and Loss: Suicide Prevention  or  Grief and Loss 


If you’re feeling stressed or anxious you may be wondering if it’s more than regular worries. Explore resources and solutions to help you understand and manage your stress or anxiety. You can also find resources to help a friend or loved one.



Online Resources for Mental Wellness and Social Connection


The Mind your Mind Self Care During COVID-19 link has 30 self-care tips


Please see link for further information: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/awareness-resources.html


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