PEI

Family Service PEI offering free online counselling during COVID-19

Free group counselling for Islanders experiencing a high level of anxiety because of COVID-19 is being offered by Family Service PEI.

'We're facing something right now that none of us has faced in our lifetimes'

Kathy Jones, executive director of Family Service PEI, says anxiety and stress are to be anticipated during COVID-19. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Free group counselling for Islanders experiencing a high level of anxiety because of COVID-19 is being offered by Family Service PEI.

The secure online group counselling is for children, youth and adults.

Kathy Jones, executive director and clinical therapist with Family Service PEI, says the focus of these groups will be to help people understand some of what they may be experiencing right now.

"A certain level of anxiety and stress are to be anticipated," she said. "We're facing something right now that none of us has faced in our lifetimes."

She said people may be struggling to cope, which can lead to interruptions in sleep patterns and an increased use of alcohol or drugs.

We may see people that are really having a lot of very anxious thoughts around what the future may look like.— Kathy Jones

"We may see people that are really having a lot of very anxious thoughts around what the future may look like, so it's really those types that our focus will be on."

Jones said it's important to maintain as much of a routine as possible with eating, sleeping and exercising.

The sessions, which will begin next week, will be offered through video conferencing with a maximum of four people per session. Health PEI, as well as Mental Health and Addictions Services, are covering the cost of the sessions out of existing budgets, Jones said.

Anyone interested can email register@familyservice.pe.ca.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker

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