The BC branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has rolled out a targeted tele-health program for people affected by wildfires.
CMHA Vernon Executive Director Julia Payson says Talk in Tough Times can help youth and adults dealing with stress and depression resulting from wildfires
Vernon’s Crisis Line played an integral role over the winter in helping those affected last year.
“We found it was after people were, you know they were out of the evacuation centres, they were moving back home and they were trying to put their lives back together. And that was when a lot of the impact of the displacement started to come to the forefront for people.”
Payson says a delayed reaction isn’t surprising.
“It’s really later on once all that extra energy and adrenaline and all of the people around you that are supporting you through that evacuation, it’s really after that time when we start to see people realize that there’s after effects.”
She says people can take part in a series of coaching sessions over the phone to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Coaches are already trained in helping people with depression, low mood and in cognitive therapy but have also had extra training.
“We had 65 thousand people displaced last summer. That’s incredible. So, this program was specifically put up to support people from those wildfires. Our coaches have additional support and training and new resources to really make sure that we’re pointing people in the right direction.”
The program is modeled after the BounceBack program designed to support people with low mood, depression and anxiety.
Julia Payson says their coaches are well-placed for this year’s wildfire season.
She says CMHA hopes people know they don’t have to suffer, they don’t have to suffer alone and these types of programs are there to help people get back to the way they’re used to living and feeling.
To access the Talk in Tough Times Facebook page, visit: https://www.facebook.com/TalkInToughTimes/
To access the Talk in Tough Times tele-health program call 1-877-427-4884 or visit:
For additional information and support call the Crisis Line at 310-6789 (no area code needed).