2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for many but those working in the service industry have been hit especially hard. Feelings of burnout, stress, and anxiety are increasingly common for many and isolation and a drop in finances have made accessing mental health resources difficult. The added strains of working through a pandemic have pushed me to personally seek out help and I have found some resources that have given me reprieve during this trying time. This is in no way a comprehensive list, but I hope that others can find some form of relief through some of these options.
Bounce Back: This is a free resource organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association that, “is a free skill-building program designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered online or over the phone with a coach, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness.”
There are different options on Bounce Back that offer telephone appointments, independent online mental health skills training, and online videos.
Access and Assessment Centre: If you are living in Vancouver or the surrounding area, there is a clinic inside of Vancouver General Hospital that is open for walk-in patients from 7:30AM - 11:00PM. If you want to be connected to a social worker, psychiatrist or low-cost or free counselling services regarding your mental health you can visit the Access and Assessment Centre.
If you live outside of Vancouver, there are different centres across British Columbia that offer similar options for those seeking help for their mental health:
FairPharmaCare: If you need help paying for prescription drugs related to your mental health or otherwise, you may be eligible for Fair Pharma Care. Depending on your income the government can cover a portion of your prescription costs. It is free to sign up and you only need to have a valid BC Care Card and your T4 from previous years to apply for government aid.
Vancouver Black Therapy Fund: For black folks living in Vancouver, finding a culturally appropriate therapist can be difficult and discouraging. The Vancouver Black Therapy Fund seeks to “[match applicants] with an advocate to link them directly to a suitable therapist that we are working with. At this time, this fund is exclusive to the Lower Mainland of Vancouver since there is a lack of therapy services for Black folks specifically.”
Health Canada Hotline: If you need to speak with a trained therapist, Health Canada has set up a 24/7 number that is free to call. Unfortunately you will not be connected with the same therapist every time but it is a valuable resource if you’re looking to vent, talk to someone with training, or just need an ear. The phone number is: 1 866 585 0445.
As I mentioned before this list is in no ways comprehensive - these are resources I have personally sought out in my mental health journey; what we are all experiencing is unprecedented. I personally have felt extremely guilty about feelings of inadequacy when it comes to my own productivity and if this applies to you it is very common and you are not alone. What our world looks like moving forward is unknown, the pandemics’ effects are only beginning to be in part understood. It is completely understandable and normal if you don’t feel like yourself, if you have been experiencing mental health issues, and if you feel a loss of control. I hope these resources can be a starting place for some relief for you.