New support line helps Manitobans struggling with anxiety due to COVID-19

The Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba has started an anxiety support line to help people cope with the stress of COVID-19.

“The level of anxiety in the community has skyrocketed,” said the organization’s executive director Mary Williams.

“We have the experience and resources to help people cope with their anxiety.”

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Starting on Monday, people can contact the support line at 204-925-0040 to speak to one of the organization’s staff.

“People with anxiety disorders at this time are going to be feeling even more anxious than normal because of all of the uncertainty that’s going on. It’s open to people with anxiety disorders but also people who are experiencing anxiety,” Williams said.

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Williams said people who are feeling the stress of COVID-19 should only get their information from trusted sources and to try and limit their exposure, so they don’t feel consumed by the information and feel overwhelmed.

“The reason for that is, if we expose ourselves to the same information [over and over], that’s what we are going to focus on and it increases our anxiety and increases the focus,” she said.

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William suggests people engage in self-care strategies like yoga, paced breathing, listening to calming music, meditating, reading, playing a game, being creative or trying a new hobby.

The support line will be answered and checked regularly between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend social distancing, frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

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