Anxiety, Climate and Covid-19

eMERGE Guelph was delighted to host the first in a series of Webinars to fight climate change in a time of covid-19.

Over 50 engaged participants joined us on April 14, 2020 for: Anxiety, Climate Change & Covid-19.

For those that were unable to make it you can find a recording of the Webinar on our Youtube Channel here:  https://youtu.be/V2q5QLrp630

Here are some resources that can help us all deal with anxiety in it’s many different forms. Among other items, Rachel Mahrer, Mental Health Therapist has provided a link to an “Anxiety Workbook” and Stephen Legault’s book “Taking a Break from Saving the World” is now available at the Bookshelf (they are delivering at no charge). See below for more resources.

Sincere thanks to our captivating speakers: Stephen Legault, long time environmental activist, author of “Taking a break from Saving the World” and Rachel Mahrer, Mental Health Councellor. Special thanks also go out to Michael Playter Findlay, eMERGE Board Chair and moderator for the evening.

We have provided an overview along with links to mental health resources below.

 
Overview
Many people have experienced anxiety around the lack of real success in the fight against climate change. Covid-19 is adding to this stress. In fact the world wide reaction to the epidemic has only underscored the need for similar, widespread, international action on climate change at the same scale. That realization can cause even more anxiety.These stressors can be as broad as being debilitating to a mere distraction. But they all can prevent us from getting the work done.How can we all learn strategies related to better mental health that can help keep us focused on the job at hand?
A veteran of burnout himself, Legault looks at the culture of self-sacrifice that permeates the work done by volunteers and paid staff in the environmental conservation movement, and dissects how to manage our own time, energy, and commitment to our causes. Following a river-running metaphor, and proposing a variety of techniques to help with various states of anxiety resulting from burnout, including clarity of purpose, recognition of limits, fitness and diet, mediation and yoga, as well as organizational structural changes such as leave-of-absence policies, Legault encourages readers to find time to “eddy out” – to rest a moment in quieter waters and scout downriver – to ensure our lifetime of engagement is fulfilling, effective, and self-sustaining.Just as with teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, paramedics, steelworkers, students, and airline pilots, burnout is a growing concern in many social-change circles. Taking a Break from Saving the World takes a look at the impacts of eco-anxiety, over-work, and the associated stress surrounding the present and future state of the environment and offers practical and insightful suggestions on how to deal with it.Active in the social and environmental values movement since 1988, Stephen is an experienced facilitator, political analyst, organizer, and government relations and public engagement specialist. He was the founder of Wildcanada.net, Canada’s first online advocacy portal, and has served as Program Director for Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and as the Senior Sustainability Development Office for Royal Roads University. Learn more about Stephen here.Stephen’s also a gifted storyteller, public speaker, teacher, and photographer. He’s the author of fifteen books and countless newspapers, magazines, and online articles.

See Stephen’s slides here: Taking a break from saving the environment

(Note that the Bookshelf has Stephen’s book “Taking a Break from Saving the World” in stock – April 15,2020) www.stephenlegault.com
Rachel works in private practice with teenagers, adults, and couples. She brings experience and interest in anxiety and mood disorders, trauma, relationship and family issues, sexual identity, and general development/life span issues.She is a registered social worker (MSW, RSW) with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (0ASW).In addition to private counselling Rachel worked as a counsellor at the University of Guelph, and currently runs a group on campus to assist students dealing with social anxiety. She is Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. Her work with McMaster involves training psychiatry residents in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy – depression and anxiety) and group work clinical modules. She has focused training in Relational Life Training (RLT) and Internal Family Systems (IFS).

Click here to view Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook which is a tool to help you build resilience During difficult times


Resources for dealing with Anxiety:

This is a very limited list of resources for support. Please check if you have benefits for covering counselling. Most counsellors are providing secure video phone/telephone counselling during COVID-19 in lieu of in person support. Many companies have links to support sent in emails (including Shoppers links to CMHA resources). Many physicians are attached to family health teams with mental health resources.
-For veterans and first responders: http://breakwaterinstitute.ca
-Free online counselling for health care providers (Ontario);https://covid19therapists.com/request-support/
Free online program for people with mood or anxiety issues: 
https://www.mindbeacon.com/strongerminds?fbclid=IwAR1SSAo1DUXfhtArk-s7_FoR6VsncEBRQY5oLysJUyLTrvVOaxYrBJ9L9fs
 

Counselling & Support

a) Family Counselling & Support Services in Guelph provide therapy and counselling on a sliding scale (i.e. pay what you can within a certain range), and I’m sure they are providing creative solutions to support community members during this time. Their contact information is available here: https://familyserviceguelph.on.ca/contact-counsellor-guelph/

b) The CMHA Self-Help Alliance offers peer support, and they are currently providing accessible services over the phone: https://cmhawwselfhelp.ca/news/service-changes-due-to-covid-19/·
Here 24/7 at 1-884-437-3247·

Good2Talk at 1-866-925-5454

Online Self-Directed Supports and Resources:· COVID-19 Anxiety: 

Here are 5 tips from mental health experts (CTV) · Anxiety Canada: My Anxiety Plan – an online resource providing self-help information for anxiety, as well as a CBT based curriculum · Big White Wall: a free, online mental health and wellbeing service that helps people who are dealing with everyday stressors and mild to moderate depression and anxiety. This service provides virtual online peer support and self-management tools for adults and youth: · Centre for Clinical Intervention: Coping with depression online modules & workbook and support for health anxiety.App Supports · Woebot is an automated conversation agent that helps you monitor your mood and learn about yourself. Use the referral code: ONTARIO for the app to direct you to local resources, if needed. Mindshift: CBT app for Anxiety Support: https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/new-mindshift-cbt-app-gives-canadians-free-anxiety-relief