As concerns about novel coronavirus continue to affect Canada, the country’s health agencies are speaking out about the possible mental health impact. As schools, universities and events get cancelled, they’re reminding Canadians that “it’s normal for situations like this to affect you.” To help, they’re sharing tips and advice on managing COVID-19 anxiety.

In recent weeks, as cases of COVID-19 continue to be diagnosed in Canada, it’s possible that people are feeling anxious, stressed and seriously overwhelmed.

The panic can be evidenced by the stockpiling of toilet paper and essential supplies across the country, as some Canadians worry about being prepared for a local outbreak.

In response, Canada’s health agencies are reaching out to concerned citizens, and are offering words of comfort, support and advice.

Taking to Twitter on Friday, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) stated, “As the COVID19 situation unfolds, please be mindful of its impact on your mental health.”

They went on, “It's normal for situations like this to affect you and it's completely OK to ask for help,” before sharing a link to the Distress Centre Ottawa.

OPH reminded Ottawans that the centre is available 24/7 for anybody who needs to talk, adding that “it’s ok not to be ok,” and “have THAT talk.”

Sharing a similar message, the Canadian Mental Health Association in Kelowna explained, “In recent weeks, news of coronavirus has been at the forefront of many of our minds.”

Linking to their website,  they continued “For some, the news has increased anxiety and concern about personal risk."

On the site, the health agency has provided professional advice about coping with the onslaught of COVID-19 news.

Like OPH, their suggestions include reaching out to others if you’re feeling overwhelmed, whether that’s a loved one, or a professional.

Additionally, they recommend practicing mindful breathing when you feel panicked, regularly exercising where possible, and eating regular meals to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Avoiding caffeine, alcohol and smoking could also be beneficial if you’re prone to panic attacks.

The Distress Centre Ottawa also suggested taking a break from the news if it's getting to be too much, and contacting them if you want to talk to somebody.

Anxiety Canada also advises taking regular social media breaks, and simply giving yourself credit for doing the best you can to cope in a difficult situation.

If you’re feeling worried, anxious, overwhelmed or stressed about anything related to COVID-19, you can find tons of helpful advice from Anxiety Canada by clicking here.

Additionally, if you need to talk to somebody, you can find your local support hotline here.

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