COVID-19: Mental Health Supports for Social Distancing & Self-isolation
March 24, 2020. Article by: Government of B.C.
This page was updated on May 11, 2020. We will continue to make updates as we receive new information. Download the BC COVID-19 Support app for emerging information and a self-assessment tool. Check for updates on mental health and substance use supports regularly.
Right now, things feel uncertain and strange for many people. Sometimes world events can cause more uncertainty, stress, and anxiety than we have day-to-day. With the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is completely okay to feel uneasy about the things that are happening or about some of the actions being taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
During this time, people are practicing social distancing and possibly self-isolation, which involve limiting being around groups of people, creating space between you and others, and staying home when possible.
Be compassionate to yourself and others
Most people are feeling some amount of worry or anxiety at this time. Be easy on yourself and others if experiencing more anxiety than usual. Each person, based on their background and previous lived experiences, is dealing with this difficult situation in a different way.
Reach out to your community
- Reduce stress − help support one another and lift each other up. Share positive stories, focusing on the facts, and having time to smile and laugh when possible.
- Contact friends and family in new ways − text, call, facetime and skype. This is a time to have kind conversations and spend some time at home. There is no shame in letting your community know if you are struggling right now.
- Online counselling − if you currently attend counselling, it may be helpful to have appointments over the phone, skype, or facetime instead of in-person. There are virtual mental health supports available to all B.C. seniors, adults, students, youth and frontline health care workers. Resources that offer online support include:
- 310Mental Health Support at 310-6789 (no area code required) for emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health.
- Bounce Back for people experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood or stress, with or without anxiety. Call toll-free 1-866-639-0522.
- Foundry BC for online and phone supports for young people ages 12-24.
Take time to unplug from the news and social media
Try limiting your time watching or listening to news about COVID-19. While it can be valuable to share information and stories, this can cause additional anxiety for some people, especially if the content is not accurate.
If you watch or read the news, commit to checking it a couple times a day, set regular times, and disable news alerts on your phone.
Using reliable sources of information will ensure that what you do learn is fact, not fear-based:
Take this time on your own to practice self-care:
- Take care of your body by cooking nutritious meals for yourself, stretch and meditate, exercise when able, and get lots of sleep.
- Read a book you’ve been meaning to start, listen to podcasts, clean, and organize.
- Take time to relax or try a new hobby.
Get more support
- Call Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre at 1-800-SUICIDE if you are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide.
- Call the KUU-US Crisis Response Service at 1-800-588-8717 for culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous people in B.C.
- Mental Health Digital Hub: A provincial website that provides information, services and education and awareness about mental health and substance use for adults, youth and children.
- Heretohelp: Provides information about managing mental illness and maintaining good mental health, including self-management resources and screening self-tests for wellness, mood, anxiety and risky drinking.