Demand for mental health services increasing with acceptance

Demand for mental health services increasing with acceptance

Support organization sees growing waitlist, particularly for youth and families with children

With growing awareness and acceptance of mental health issues, demand for services and counselling in the Shuswap have also risen.

Patti Thurston of the Shuswap Family Centre says demand for mental health supports, particularly for youth and families with children, has been higher recently than in the nine years she has been a part of the organization.

“We personally are seeing numbers we have never seen. Since I started nine years ago, I would say the need for services for children, youth and young adults have tripled, let alone for families,” she says.

Read More: Shuswap Family Resource Centre celebrates 30 years

Though it is encouraging people are no longer afraid to seek help, Thurston says this demand has created challenges with getting people the resources they need.

“There are wait lists everywhere – we are still able to see our clients once a week but I think we have 17 people on our wait-list which is fairly new. We probably have a five to six week waiting list just us and just here in Salmon arm,” she says.

While demand for support is higher, Monica Kriese, coordinator of the Wellness Centre in the Salmon Arm Secondary Sullivan Campus, notes this increased demand doesn’t necessarily equate to an increase in mental illness rates.

Read More: Salmon Arm Secondary Wellness Centre helping youth

“I wouldn’t necessarily attribute it to more mental illness showing up, but we are talking about it finally,” Kriese says. “It’s now something that everyone talks about and doesn’t hide as much anymore. That makes the numbers seem very large, but then when you go into them you have to determine where on the spectrum of mental health are we talking about?”

Both Thurston and Kriese identify a lack of clarity on available resources as a common challenge faced by families and individuals seeking mental health support.

“What we learned as part of the local action team that formed the Wellness Centre is there are resources available but a lot of people don’t know where to go for these resources,” Kriese says. “So what we identified was a need to communicate to people as to what agency does what – they need one place to go and get information.”

Dawn Dunlop, executive director with the Canadian Mental Health Association Shuswap-Revelstoke office, says they are constantly busy with people coming in.

“I think that we live in stressful times and I think we always see significant numbers of people reaching out and trying to access help,” said Dunlop, noting a huge amount of the work CMHA does is reducing the stigma and shame surrounding mental health. “The stats will show that people will have 10 episodes before they reach out for help. We’re trying to reduce that barrier so that people won’t have 10 episodes before they reach out. They will reach out the first time.

“Talking about your mental health should come as naturally and normally as talking about your physical health.”

Dunlop notes CMHA’s work isn’t just about addressing mental illness, but promoting a proactive approach to mental health management – something that can help reduce demand for service.

“Mental health is about everyone, it’s not just about managing an illness,” said Dunlop. “Mental health is important to everyone. It should not be about waiting for a crisis and then getting help. It’s about us thinking about, ‘are we living a mentally healthy life, every day?’ It’s about managing your health.”

CMHA’s annual Ride Don’t Hide annual fundraising event plays a big part in getting out that message. This year’s Ride Don’t Hide takes place on Sunday, June 23.

Dunlop notes the event was started with Michael Schratter, who used to teach in Vernon.

“He became ill after some difficult life situations and had a dream that he wanted to bike around the world and talk about mental health openly and honestly,” said Dunlop. “And he did it; he biked across the world, and then he partnered with CMHA and now we have a national fundraising ride across Canada.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Demand for mental health services increasing with acceptance

Patti Thurston, executive director of the Shuswap Family Resource Centre, shows off the community’s generosity in the five-years-and-under gift room. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Patti Thurston, executive director of the Shuswap Family Resource Centre, shows off the community’s generosity in the five-years-and-under gift room. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

The District of Peachland seen from the skies over Highway 97. (Contributed)
Peachland council supports RDCO emergency operations grant application

The district’s emergency operations are managed regionally

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

A crane stands in the middle of a fire-ravaged Glenmore Road construction site on Thursday, April 8. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Evacuation order remains in effect around burned Glenmore Road construction site

Assessment of potentially risky crane to take place this afternoon

Kelowna-based company GTEC Cannabis Co. has paid off $6 million in debts. (GTEC Cannabis Co. - Facebook)
Kelowna cannabis company pays off $6M debt

GTEC Cannabis Co. is now one of the few debt-free companies in the sector

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read