Health-care workers have been facing high levels of stress and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Black Press Media files)

Health-care workers have been facing high levels of stress and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Black Press Media files)

B.C. expands mental health support for health-care, social service workers

The province invested $735,000 to expand mental health support programs

Health-care and community service support workers in B.C. will now have access to increased mental health support.

The province has created two programs to meet the specific challenges facing health-care and community service workers called the Care to Speak and Care for Caregivers. B.C. is investing $735,000 to offer online peer support and targeted educational mental-health resources for health-care and community social services workers.

In a news release, the province said more than 76,000 workers have accessed the programs since 2020.

The province said the investment will help give more workers access to the program and increase availability and ways for health-care workers in long-term and continuing care to connect to peers who have experience in the sector and who have been trained in active listening and can provide mental-health supports.

READ MORE: ‘They are tired’: B.C. Nurses Union president talks about violence, burnout

“Many health-care and community social service workers have experienced distress, anxiety, grief, depression and trauma when responding to the COVID-19 and poisoned drug emergencies,” said Jonny Morris, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association B.C. Division. “Care to Speak provides free, confidential emotional support by people who get it, and offers a bridge into other services like the provincial Mobile Response Team. If you are a care provider, reach out for support. If you know someone who is, share this resource and show you care.”

Care to Speak is available Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m., with additional hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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