Those struggling with mental health concerns can now get access to counsellors virtually, thanks to a partnership between Fraser Health and the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice.
The Primary Care Network counselling program is now being offered free and virtually, according to the physician’s organization.
Anyone feeling stress, anxiety, or just the need to talk to someone, is able to access to services to get connected with short-term virtual counselling.
Here’s how it works: visit here https://www.divisionsbc.ca/fraser-northwest/counselling-service then complete the consent form and a mental health clinician will contact you to set up a phone or virtual appointment.
The program is part of a suite of new services to support children, teens and adults with mental health concerns after the B.C. government launched several initiatives, with $5 million in funding.
As well, the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC division, has tips and tools for people here.
The help comes as more people are experiencing anxiety due to isolation, financial concerns and other COVID-19 pandemic-related issues.
According to a workplace survey by human resources and technology company Morneau Shepell, more Canadians are experiencing mental stress as the pandemic continues.
The survey of 3,000 Canadians found the overall Mental Health Index dropped by 12% for April 2020, considered a “statistically significant and unprecedented change” and that mental stress compared to the prior month had increased.
According to the company’s researchers, the size of the change is unprecedented in the three-year period when the benchmark data was being collected.
The majority of respondents (81%) reported that the COVID-19 pandemic is negatively impacting their mental health, ranging from some concern about an ability to cope (49%) to feeling the crisis has a negative, very negative or significantly negative impact on their mental health (32%).
"We can't ignore the reality that mental health concerns and anxieties will continue to worsen as COVID-19 escalates. Now is the time for business leaders and governments to take action, ramp up mental health efforts and help normalize the anxieties that individuals may be feeling," said Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer of the company in a press release.
The firm encourages Canadians to use the mental health programs that are available to them.
Some of the main concerns of Canadians, according to the survey, included financial impact of the pandemic (55%), followed by the fear of getting ill or having a loved one pass away (42%) and uncertainty around how the virus will impact family (33%).
Morneau Shepell plans to publish the national Mental Health Index on a monthly basis.
It will assess change in mental health and the issues Canadians are most anxious about as the situation evolves, during and after the pandemic.