Last week’s Empire-Advance article Stay Connected for Wellness looked at some of the mental health effects of the pandemic and the isolation that can go along with it. Conversations with teachers, counselors and spiritual advisors confirm some of the statistics that mental health agencies provided. We have some problems with depression and anxiety.
The provincial government has collaborated with one of Canada’s largest human resource management firms, Morneau Shepell, to provide an online version of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that is freely available to all Manitobans. AbilitiCBT is appropriate assistance for those experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety due to the pandemic. This is cognitive behavioral therapy guided by a therapist through a digital platform, which is accessible through your smartphone or tablet. AbilitiCBT is effective because it virtually pairs you with a professional therapist who supports you through your program.The program addresses symptoms related to the challenging aspects of pandemics such as uncertainty, isolation, caring for family and community members, information overload and stress management.
So what is CBT and how does it work. According to the Mayo Clinic,CBT is a common type of talk therapy. You work with a mental health counselor in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. CBT can be a very helpful tool ― either alone or in combination with other therapies ― in treating mental health disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or an eating disorder. However, not everyone who benefits from CBT has a mental health condition. CBT can be an effective tool to help anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations.
Online sessions help identify troubling situations or conditions in your life. You and your therapist may spend some time deciding what problems and goals to focus on. The next step will be to become aware of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about these problems.
Once you have identified the problems to work on, your therapist will encourage you to share your thoughts about them. This will allow you to identify negative or inaccurate thinking and, once identified, the program will offer you tools to help reshape this into a positive, realistic state of mind.
All residents of Manitoba age 16 or older can access the program for free. You do not need to be referred by a doctor to use AbilitiCBT.
AbilitiCBT is a digital platform accessible from home or anywhere else on a smartphone or a tablet. To sign up, visit manitoba.ca/covid19.