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Utah psychotherapist launches online support group for COVID-19 anxiety

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LINDON — A psychotherapist urged people to avoid panic and to maintain a level mental approach to the COVID-19 pandemic as he prepared Monday to launch a new online anxiety support group aimed at coping with the spread of the coronavirus.

Brett Williams said panic will only make the situation worse.

“If we’re not panicking, if we’re able to deal with things rationally, it goes so much smoother,” Williams said. “I can go without food for 30 days, I can go without water for 3 days, but if I start panicking or if I start freaking out or getting hysterical, I’m going to start making mistakes now — right now — that could totally affect everything that’s going to go on in the future.”

Williams considers himself a “prepper” when it comes to storing supplies for potential disasters. He maintains an underground bomb shelter inside his home with air filtration, a three- to six-month supply of food, and surgical supplies for medical doctors in the area who may need them in an emergency.

Still, he said the most important thing when it comes to survival can’t be found on any of his shelves.

“Having a good ‘mental game’ is probably one of the best things you can do for prepping,” Williams said. “You also have to kind of hope for the best. That’s kind of the way it works. You plan for the worst and you have to hope for the best. Otherwise, it just plays on your psychology. It just makes you more and more negative.”

To that end, Williams said he planned to put to good use a small TV production studio constructed inside his bunker by sharing what he possesses in ample supply — expertise in managing stress and anxiety.

Beginning this week and continuing for the foreseeable future, Williams said he planned to conduct sessions online every Sunday from 11 a.m. to noon through his “Gathering of Good People” group on Facebook to help people deal with anxiety specifically related to COVID-19.

“People that are feeling anxious about kind of what’s going on and not having a place to really talk or vent or connect — this is what we’re going to set this up for is to have online support,” Williams said. “My hope is that this gives us a whole new appreciation of how much we need each other and how community is such an important part of our lives.”

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Andrew Adams


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