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Manitobans rallying to break stigma surrounding anxiety disorders

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A stretch of downtown Winnipeg is set to get a little bit more colourful in an effort to raise awareness and break the stigma surrounding anxiety.

The Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba (ADAM) is hosting a Blue and Orange Rally Monday outside its offices at 4 Fort Street.

Participants will dress in blue and orange and take to the streets, be it by foot, bicycle, or vehicle, to mark Action Anxiety Day.

“We wanted to bring attention to the fact that one in four will manage an anxiety disorder in a lifetime. This includes doctors, lawyers, professional hockey players – it doesn’t matter what your profession is,” said ADAM executive director Scott McFadyen in an interview with CTV Morning Live Winnipeg.

McFadyen said ADAM, a peer-support organization for people struggling with anxiety disorders, has been busy since the onset of the pandemic, particularly with inquiries from young people and seniors.

The organization employs people who have also managed anxiety, themselves.

McFadyen has encountered four or five periods of excessive worry in his lifetime.

“For me, anxiety is something like sweaty palms, excessive worry - not for a day, not for two days, not for three days, not for a week, not even for a month. Sometimes it went on for years,” he said.

“In my case, it wasn’t until the age of about 49 where I decided to be proactive with my health.”

McFadyen said those struggling with anxiety should visit their general practitioner or a walk-in clinic for help. From there, they will likely be referred to a specialist.

In addition to the clinical side of treatment, there are numerous resources and programs available through non-profits like ADAM.

He urges people not to wait to get help.

“We’re all pretty good at masking how we’re feeling and carrying on,” he said.

“But it’s the all of the above treatment option, in that this is yourself that you’re talking about. Pursue all options to feel better.”

- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagacé

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