Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety & Depression

News and information about the spread of COVID-19 is coming at us quickly. It can be hard to remain calm given all that is going on. Stress, anxiety, and depression are not unusual for people of all ages. But there are things we can do as individuals and collectively to deal with stress and support one another during these challenging times.

Last Updated: May 19, 2020

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control is the best source for COVID-19 health information

Get COVID-19 health information

1. Know the Facts

Using reliable sources of information will ensure that what you do learn is fact, not fear-based.

2. Reach Out

Social distancing is important and will help control the spread of the virus. At the same time, it can also create even greater feelings of isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression. Use this time to connect in other ways...call those who are alone, connect with friends online, and offer support to those who really need it. Offer a virtual hug over FaceTime or Skype.

3. Have Calm Conversation

Maintaining a sense of calm, especially when talking to children, will go a long way toward easing their fears and uncertainty. Provide age-appropriate, factual information and give them the opportunity ask questions and share how they are feeling.

4. Practice Self-Care

Build self-care into your day, even (and especially) as activities change and routines are disrupted. All the things you do to take care of yourself will help manage your stress. And by taking good care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to take care of others. Some self-care ideas:

  • Meditate
  • Play a board game
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Take a bath
  • Read about something other than the virus
  • Cuddle your pet
  • Start a digital detox (leave your phone alone for a while)
  • Exercise

5. Seek Help

You know your body and it's signs of stress. If you are having trouble managing your mental health, contact your healthcare provider and encourage those you love to do the same.


If You Need Help

Many people are feeling heightened emotions right now. Longstanding challenges may be escalating, or you may be struggling for the first time with your mental health. Some people may be using alcohol or other drugs to cope with how they are feeling.

Get help with mental health or substance use challenges from home during COVID-19

Find virtual supports

HealthLink BC

Provides 24/7, confidential health information and advice.

Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre

Provides confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide.

The KUU-US Crisis Response Service

Provides 24/7 culturally-aware crisis support to Indigenous people in B.C.

Métis Crisis Line

Provides crisis support as well as for relationship troubles, depression, anxiety, financial issues, bullying, and can connect you with your local Métis Chartered Community.

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.

Bounce Back

A free evidence-based program designed to help youth and adults experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood or stress, with or without anxiety. Bounce Back® teaches effective skills to help people improve their mental health.

MindHealthBC

An online mental health counselling program created by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Providence Health Care and community partners. MindHealthBC offers information and recommendations for support in Vancouver, Richmond and other coastal communities for people struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health or substance use challenges.

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.