The Coronavirus isn't just affecting physical health but mental health as well

Hillary Johnson

The Coronavirus isn't just wreaking havoc on immune systems worldwide, but it's affecting the state of people's mental health as well. The BC Division for the Canadian Mental Health Association, CEO Jonny Morris, says self-isolation can cause pre-existing mental health issues to worsen or even develop in a person with no history of mental illness. He also mentions the restrictions when accessing health services like counsellors, physicians and other support networks. Morris suggests several things one can do to help reduce the impacts of mental health or substance abuse.

"Those basics around eating well and staying hydrated are key, and reaching out and having people reach in to support you if there are challenges there. Keep taking any medication that someone might have or might be needing and checking in with your pharmacist by calling them to make sure you can access more if you need some, and there are ways to connect with doctors virtually. If it's possible to continue accessing support, that's key. Taking care of your immediate environment at home is very key too."

He says loved ones must reach out to those who are struggling in these uncertain times.

"We often place a burden on folks to reach out. We say to reach out to services that are under a huge demand right now or reach out to others. The advice we have been giving is for folks to reach in, so if you have a family member who lives with a mental health problem, it's really important to reach out whether that be a phone call, a text, a facetime call and an email, to let them know that your there, goes a long way when we are running short on human connection in person."

Technology plays a big part in keeping people informed on the daily updates of the pandemic, but it can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing, so Morris recommends limiting news consumption. If you need an extra hand, reliable apps and websites can help.

"Anxiety Canada, they have a great app that's well trusted called Mind Shift, the mind-shift app. It's available in the app store, offers good advice in an app format. Folks who are grappling with worry, stress, low mood and anxiety can check out Bounceback online."

If you know someone in your life that is dealing with mental health issues, addictions or even the stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, reach out and bring some positive light into their world.

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