As the nights get longer and the COVID-19 case count rises, Manitobans may be feeling more restless, more hopeless, and more stressed — in short, more anxious. 

The Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba (ADAM) is now expanding its popular Anxiety and Worry Support Program so Manitobans in all parts of the province can access it. 

Amid pandemic upheaval this spring, Brazilian-turned-Winnipegger Juliana C. needed to seek help for mental health for the first time in her life. 

She was referred to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba’s Anxiety and Worry Support Program (AWSP) and there — like hundreds of other Manitobans who have reached out to ADAM during these past months — she found relief. 

“It makes you feel like you’re not alone,” Juliana said.

“ADAM saved me. It saved me,” says Winnipeg retiree Tami N., who first participated in ADAM programming in 2016. As her stress levels surged in the spring, Tami participated in ADAM’s new Anxiety and Worry Support Program to channel pandemic-related worries. 

“The COVID program (AWSP) got everything back on track,” Tami said. “It helped me normalize COVID — as normalized as you can get with COVID — and help take the scariness out of it. By the end of it, I was feeling like normal, and it was so nice.” 

Tami and dozens of others are still participating in weekly support groups — because when the six-week program is over, supports are still there. Participants are invited to ongoing weekly support group meetings to bolster their new skills and support network. 

“For the support group meetings, I love the Zoom meetings,” Tami says. “I don’t have to worry about masking up and going downtown … in the wintertime, it’s nice to be able to just go to a meeting and not have to worry about the driving part.”

The six-week program is completely free and is provided online via Zoom, with a telephone option for those without computer access. It’s based on programming developed by The Valley Centre for Counselling in Dundas, Ont. and uses evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy practices. 

“Do it,” Tami says to those thinking about calling ADAM. “Don’t even think about it. They will understand you in a way that no one else can; they can help you feel like there's hope at the end of this, that you will feel better, that you will feel stronger, that there's a place to go (virtually) where you will be heard and understood and accepted for exactly who you are and get the support that you need.”

The Anxiety Worry and Support Program is currently accepting applications. Email adam@adam.mb.ca or call 204 925 0060 to register.

Billboard asks, how are you really?