LONDON, ONT. -- The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Middlesex says it has seen a sharp increase in calls to its support and crisis centres since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“It is normal to have some anxiety right now," said Lori Hassell, the director of Crisis and Short Term Interventions at CMHA Middlesex. “ I think all of us have had some experiences around that, it’s a very unusual time.”

She says since the pandemic occurred calls for help have spiked. “Our calls went up 50 per cent...They've stabilized a little bit since, but they're still higher than normal.”

This is Mental Health Week and the theme is Social Connection. Hassell says it’s good for people to interact with others while respecting social distancing.

“We can connect in other ways so perhaps that is over Zoom or Skype or connecting with relatives at a distance,” added Hassell.

If you are having a difficult time coping the CMHA Middlesex wants you to reach out.

The support and crisis services are available 24 hours a day.

Hassell says, “We do want to let people know that we're here to help if people feel they need some support.”