WATCH — Visit the future in VR for tips on what to do if you’re feeling scared

Elijah Sandiford
Story by Elijah Sandiford and CBC Kids News • 2020-08-24 14:58

Elijah asks a doctor your questions

When you think about the future, what do you picture?

Have all the real teachers been replaced by robots? Do you have to crawl inside an inflatable bubble to play with your friends? Are masks more valuable than gold?

Given how much COVID-19 has already changed our lives, it’s hard not to get a little carried away when trying to guess what the future might bring — and that can be scary.

But you don’t have to live in fear.

CBC Kids News contributor Elijah Sandiford invited psychologist Dr. Carlton Duff with the Canadian Mental Health Association to our virtual studio to answer questions from kids about mental health.

Watch the video below for tips on what to do if you’re feeling scared.

Also, did Elijah and Duff manage to high five in VR? You’ll have to press play to find out: 

Being scared is normal

Sometimes the things we’re afraid of are actually pretty dangerous, Duff said, “like a bear that’s really hungry.”

In a case like that, fear is healthy, he said, because it reminds us to run away and keeps us safe.

Other times, the things we’re afraid of aren’t actually dangerous, Duff said.

That kind of fear can be bad for your mental health, he said.

Girl with speech bubble saying: I'm scared

Tips for fighting fear

Here’s what to do if you’re feeling afraid and you aren’t actually in immediate danger.

Take a long breath. The key word here is: looooong.

That means breathing in while slowly counting to five.

Then breathing out while slowly counting to five.

A long breath sends a message to the brain that “everything is cool,” Duff said.

How to get help

You can find some helpful tips on how to handle stress during the pandemic in the second instalment from our VR studio.

And get advice on how to talk to family and friends about your mental health in the first instalment from our VR studio.

Wondering how to recognize depression or anxiety and what to do about it? Read more tips from Duff here.

Don’t forget that Kids Help Phone is also always an option. You can live chat, text or call the counselling service any time.

IMAGE CREDITS: (Philip Street/CBC)

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About the Contributor

Elijah Sandiford
Elijah Sandiford
CBC Kids News Contributor
You might know him as Agent Ocean on PBS’s Odd Squad or Prince Francisco in the Bruno and Boots series “This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall.” Fifteen-year-old Elijah Sandiford also has a huge passion for pop-culture, sports and content creation. After losing his father at a young age, he decided to make the most of life. His message for Canadian kids, “Dream bigger, dream brighter no matter your circumstance. The hard work you put in will take you on an exciting journey.”