If you are in distress, you can text WELLNESS to 741741 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

Home › Resources › Choosing sources of information carefully is critical to COVID-19 mental well-being

Choosing sources of information carefully is critical to COVID-19 mental well-being

In the midst of COVID-19, it is increasingly difficult to avoid the bleak headlines and bright-red news banners. Staying informed is, after all, one way many of us try to win back a semblance of control. But while it’s natural to seek information about this unfolding public health crisis, we must also take steps to protect our mental health.

With guidance from Dr. Keith Dobson, clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Calgary, we have compiled the following tips to help Canadians protect their mental health as they strive to safeguard their physical well-being and that of their loved ones.

  1. Understand the fight-or-flight response
    The brain is continuously seeking new informational cues to re-assess the threat level. Unfortunately, if we bombard ourselves with COVID-19 details, headlines, and images, we reinforce the threat signal and perpetuate the stress response. Remember, the information we allow in will affect how we feel – and we should monitor that intake with care.
  2. Be selective about news sources
    Where we seek information matters! Credible sources, such as the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization give us plain facts to counteract the sensationalism and fear-provoking imagery found in other sources.
  3. Consider the practical value of the information
    Not all information is created equal. Where possible, focus on the facts of the story, not the extraneous details or peripheral images.
  4. Don’t discount the power of language
    Although it may be difficult, it’s important to see through the sensationalistic language and focus on the message and use the practical takeaways. If a particular news source use a lot of alarmist language, consider avoiding that outlet altogether.
  5. Set boundaries on news consumption
    Try limiting your updates to between one and three designated times per day. In the interim, make a concentrated effort to place your attention elsewhere. When it’s time to re-engage, it won’t take long to catch up.

Feedback Form

Hey, there! Thanks for checking out this resource. We’d love it if you could share a little more info about yourself and how you got here (What kind of information were you looking for? Did this resource help?). Doing so will help us create better content in the future. Thanks!


  • The completion of the form is voluntary.
  • The information collected will be used solely and exclusively by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to improve the quality of our documents.
Are you willing to be contacted within 3 to 6 months for a short follow-up survey?
In case of “Yes” – please provide an email address


Your feedback will only be used for feedback purposes. Thank-you for participating in our feedback program.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Returning to school after summer break is always an adjustment, but this year marks a return unlike any other. After more than a year of physical distancing, virtual learning, home...
PurposeThis brief analyzes the impacts and policy considerations of the pandemic for people providing services to individuals who experience homelessness or precarious housing. It is intended for policy makers and...
Purpose:This policy brief seeks to provide guidance to decision makers, systems planners, and policy makers about ways to support infants, young children, and their families in light of the mental...