Minister’s statement on mental-health supports for the holiday season
Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has released the following year-end statement regarding mental-health supports during the holiday season:
“The holiday season is a time for celebrations, but for many, it can also be the season of loneliness, stress and difficult memories.
“British Columbians have been through a lot this year. Many people are rebuilding their homes and communities after floods and wildfires, we are all continuing to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are feeling the effects of global inflation. On top of that, the toxic drug crisis continues to affect communities and people throughout our province.
“These challenges can take an immense toll on our individual and collective mental health. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression or other challenges, reach out for help.
“If you are using drugs, remember that there are ways to stay safer and get help. Take special care of yourself during this season. Try not to use alone, start low and go slow, and test your drugs.
“As the new minister of mental health and addictions, I feel an enormous sense of responsibility to continue tackling the toxic drug crisis and building a system of care. Our government is urgently working to make sure everyone in British Columbia is met with the right supports at the right time.
“This holiday season is different for everyone, but services are available for all British Columbians now or any time of the year. If you need or know someone who needs support, I encourage you to seek out services that can help.”
For virtual mental-health supports, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/virtual-mental-health-supports
For life-saving information about substance use, visit: https://www.stopoverdose.gov.bc.ca/get-informed/stay-safer
Mental-health and substance-use supports available for the holiday season
The holiday season is a time to enjoy and celebrate, and it’s also a time to take care of your mental health and the mental health of those close to you. If you need support during the holidays, or any time of the year, reach out. Help is available.
Mental-health and substance-use supports for everyone:
- Province of B.C. virtual mental-health supports page: http://gov.bc.ca/MentalHealthSupports
- B.C. mental-health support phone line: For 24/7 confidential support, call 310-6789 (no area code needed).
- Counselling and mental-health services: Free or low-cost counselling is provided through 49 community-based organizations in all parts of B.C. Find an organization near you: https://caibc.ca/ccfprofiles/
- BounceBack: Free online, video and phone-based skills-building program for seniors, adults and youth (13 and older) who are experiencing low moods, mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry: https://bouncebackbc.ca/
- Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre: Confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide. Call 1 800-SUICIDE (784-2433), or visit: https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/
- First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day: Call 1 855 344-3800 to book an appointment. Virtual doctors can provide referrals to the First Nations Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service.
- The KUU-US Crisis Response Service: 24/7, culturally aware crisis support for Indigenous people in British Columbia. Call 1 800 588-8717, or visit: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/
- Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service: Call to find resources, supports and referrals, toll-free: 1 800 663-1441; or on the Lower Mainland: 604 660-9382.
- LifeGuard App: The app uses a 50-second timer that is activated by the person who is using drugs before they take their dose. If the user does not stop the timer alarm, a text-to-voice call will go straight to 911 and alert medical dispatchers of a potential overdose. Download at: https://lifeguarddh.com/
- Province of B.C. trusted guide to finding the right information and services online: For mental-health and substance-use challenges: https://Wellbeing.gov.bc.ca
Mental-health and substance-use supports for youth, young adults and families:
- Foundry Virtual: Provincewide virtual services for young people 12-24 and their caregivers with drop-in or scheduled virtual counselling appointments, peer support, youth groups or caregiver groups via Foundry BC app, chat, voice or video calls. All services are free and confidential. Call 1 833 FOUNDRY (308-6379), or visit: https://foundrybc.ca/virtual/
- Here2Talk: Confidential, free counselling and referral services by app, phone or online chat for all registered post-secondary students, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1 877 857-3397, or 1 604 642-5212 if you are a student calling from outside of Canada (international calling charges may apply): https://here2talk.ca/
- We Are Indigenous: Big Worries/Fears, Parent/Caregiver Support Program: Culturally grounded mental-wellness supports for Indigenous families with children three to 12 who are experiencing big worries and fears: https://welcome.cmhacptk.ca/bigworries/
- Ministry of Children and Family Development: Supports all children, youth and families in British Columbia to live safe and healthy lives, and provides programs and services to support child and youth mental health. Find a child and youth mental health intake clinic near you: https://gov.bc.ca/ChildYouthMentalHealthIntakeClinics
- EASE (Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Educators) At Home: Free anxiety activities and resources for B.C. parents, caregivers and families to support children’s mental health. View or download activities for kindergarten to Grade 7: https://healthymindsbc.gov.bc.ca/ease-at-home-k-7/; or for grades 8-12: https://healthymindsbc.gov.bc.ca/ease-at-home-8-12/
- Kids Help Phone: 24/7, immediate counselling, support, information and referrals. Youth can call 1 800 668-6868 or text ‘TALK’ to 686868. Texting support for adults is available by texting ‘TALK’ to 741741. Visit online: https://kidshelpphone.ca/
- Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: Free mental-health and substance-use information, resources and peer support for B.C. parents, caregivers and families of children and youth. Call 1 800 665-1822, or visit: https://keltymentalhealth.ca/
- FamilySmart: Provides health-care system navigation for mental-health services, parent peer support, mentorship and access to information, resources and networks: https://familysmart.ca/
Supports for seniors:
- BC211: Phone or text 211 if you are a senior looking for help or if you would like to volunteer to help seniors, including virtual or telephone visits: http://www.bc211.ca/
Supports for front-line workers:
- Care to Speak: Peer support for B.C. health-care workers. Call 1 866 802-7337 (PEER) or access online chat support: https://www.careforcaregivers.ca/caretospeak/
- Care for Caregivers: Mental-health support for health-care providers, including trusted information, free workshops to support employees and quick daily coping tips. https://www.careforcaregivers.ca/
- Mobile Response Team (MRT): Mental-health support for health-care workers in long-term care facilities and those working on the frontlines of the overdose public health emergency. Call 1 888 686-3022, or email: MRT@phsa.ca
- Online mental-health hub: Provides information, webinars and workshops to help employees manage stress and build resilience: www.workmentalhealthbc.ca