No one needs to feel like they are alone.
That’s the message local counsellor Nicole Jenkins has for those impacted during the current Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home advisories.
Help getting through the anxiety of decreased social contact and an uncertain future is merely a phone call or videoconference link away.
“There are a lot of losses people are experiencing, which is bringing out strong emotions they may not know how to manage,” says Jenkins, who has been working as a counsellor since 1994.
A prominent factor is the social isolation many are encountering as social distancing has kept them away from their friends, loved ones, and regular social support networks.
“The pressure of isolation and multiple losses, whether it’s losing people you know or your job - if you don’t have really strong skills and practices in place for managing your feelings, which most people don’t have, then you are going to find things difficult because all of a sudden you’re facing these strong emotions, isolation, and, perhaps, even financial loss,” Jenkins says.
In a regular setting, Jenkins said she’d see clients dealing with childhood issues, grief and loss, anxiety, perfectionism, parenting and relationship issues, family and workplace stress.
The Covid-19 pandemic however, presents a whole new list of challenges.
“Collectively, we are facing many types of loss, not just loss of life,” she said. “It’s an especially important time to know how to grieve and process your feelings so you can stay healthy and avoid depression.”
It’s like a perfect storm of conditions where there are no hard and fast answers, she adds.
“We are all immersed in this unprecedented level of uncertainty. And the emotion that comes up from that is hard to focus on.”
Fortunately, there is help.
“It’s important for people to find support during this difficult time,” Jenkins says. “The burden many are facing is much more than what we are used to, and the assistance to get through this period requires special skills that mental health workers can provide.
“But the truth is the situation we are in now will change,” she explains. “It’s not permanent. But since we can’t see the end, because we’ve never been here before, we don’t know what that change will look like.”
To help encourage those requiring help to make contact during the Covid-19 pandemic, Jenkins is offering a free, 30-minute initial online counselling session.