A team of researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus are spearheading a project which hopes to improve the mental health of seniors living in rural B.C. communities. (Unsplash.com image)

A team of researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus are spearheading a project which hopes to improve the mental health of seniors living in rural B.C. communities. (Unsplash.com image)

UBCO researchers interview caregivers for rural adults’ mental health concern

The researchers are looking for participants who live or have relatives in rural communities

A team of researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus are spearheading a project which hopes to improve the mental health of seniors living in rural B.C. communities.

On Dec. 5 they announced the start of a research study, which involves talking to people about their experiences supporting someone with mental health concerns. These, they say, could include anything from depression and anxiety, to substance abuse.

Specifically, the group of researchers is hoping to speak with those who support people 50 years or older, who live in rural communities, with mental health concerns.

“What has it been like for you to connect with this person before the pandemic, and now?” asks researcher Carley Paterson, adding that they have seen higher rates of mental health concerns since COVID-19 has limited visitation of family and friends.

READ MORE: 81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

Spearheaded by both Paterson and Dr. Carolyn Szostak, they are interested in understanding ‘what it’s like to be there’ for someone like this.

“We hope that this research will help us to better understand what it is like to be there for those who need support. We hope to find ways to enhance these relationships and improve the well-being of both individuals,” said Paterson.

She explained that participation in this study involves a brief phone call with the researcher so that you can learn more about the study, and to make sure that you are eligible to take part. You will also take part in a 1-1.5 hour interview over Zoom or by telephone.

“We will ask you about your relationship, your understanding of mental health, and your perspective of your rural community. The interview will also discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on your relationship.”

If you have any questions about this study or are interested in participating, contact Carley Paterson or Dr. Carolyn Szostak at 250-807-8736, or email Carley Paterson at: cepaters@mail.ubc.ca.

READ MORE: First Nations Leadership Council demands justice for victims of Kelowna social worker

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

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