Living through a pandemic is stressful, not only physically but mentally. Many people have more anxiety because their daily routines are interrupted and their futures are uncertain.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority has mental health programs available. These can provide relief to those who struggle with mental health issues regularly or those who are feeling extra stress, fear and anxiety because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Here are a list of contacts and programs available through the NSHA:
If you or a family member needs help with a mental health and addictions challenge and would like to self-refer to a mental health and/or addictions clinic, service, program through the Nova Scotia Health Authority or IWK Health Centre, call 1-855-922-1122, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, phone the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Line (available 24/7) at 902-429-8167 or 1-888-429-8167, or call 911.
Those up to age 20 can contact the Kids Help Phone 24/7 to speak with a trained counsellor at 1-800-668-6868. Go online at https://kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat/ or text CONNECT to 686868.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority also has two free eMental Health resources available:
ICAN – a 12-week program focusing on anxiety. This program is now open to Nova Scotian’s to self-refer and is delivered by Strongest Families, a NS based organization. The program combines telephone based coaching and self-directed work. Information about ICAN and the link to self-refer can be found here: http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus-home/coronavirus-covid-19-resources.
Mindwell U is a free online challenge that takes just 5 minutes a day and can be accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device. The challenges teach basics in mindfulness to lower stress and increase resilience. The Challenge also teaches “mindfulness-in-action” so people don’t need to stop what they are doing to become calmer, present and more focused. Info on the program and sign up can be found here: http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus-home/coronavirus-covid-19-resources.
Protecting your mental health
The best ways to take care of your mental health include:
Take care of yourself
Eat as well as possible.
Maintain normal routines and programming as much as possible.
Spend time on hobbies.
Get enough sleep.
Spend time away from your television, computer or cellphone.
Try mindfulness, yoga, meditation, art or relaxation techniques, like MindWell-U’s 30-day mindfulness challenge.
Get information from reliable sources.
Check on family, friends and neighbours.
Use phone, text, email and video calls to connect.
Connect with people on social media, but take breaks from it.
Listen and provide reassurance – it’s normal to have questions.
Address questions and correct misinformation.
Take care of others
Get groceries and necessities for people in self-isolation.
Share positive messages to support essential workers.
Watch for discrimination or bullying related to COVID-19.
Getting outside, while still social distancing, is a great way to clear your mind. You can walk on trails near your home or around your neighbourhood to exercise, not to socialize.