April 28, 2022

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Mental Health




Understanding Conditions Who’s at Risk? Where to Find Help OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS

Social interactions improve your health.

We’re In It Together / The Facts Mental illness affects all segments of Canadian society. No one is immune.

Mental health issues account for more than


In lost productivity due to absenteeism

BY THE NUMBERS: Statistics from Canadian Mental Health Association, Victoria Foundation, and other government agencies

84,000 500,000 17% 25% Children and youth in BC have a diagnosed mental disorder

Canadians, in any given week, are unable to work due to mental illness


Mental disorders account for more of the global burden of disease than


Victoria was one of three BC cities with the highest number of suicides in 2016


Of BC residents are experiencing a mental illness or substance issue today

Of Vancouver Island residents have mental health challenges

44.5% 33% PTSD

Of first responders have PTSD

Of hospital stays are due to mental disorders


In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness


Of study respondents who feel they’ve suffered from depression or anxiety haven’t seen a doctor about it

Grief is a natural response to significant loss. But unsupported, it can profoundly affect mental health and physical well-being.

Victoria Hospice is here when you need support. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we offer free individual counselling for South Island residents (up to six sessions). Some fees may apply for ongoing programs, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. You do not need a prior connection with Victoria Hospice to access bereavement support.

VictoriaHospice.org | bereavement@VictoriaHospice.org | 250-519-3040

VH-BP-2204-MentalHealthResGde-HP.indd 1

2022-04-19 8:52 AM



We’re In It Together / Community Sponsors Inside this special report


lack Press Media’s Victoria News and Monday Magazine are proud to share with the community this special report exploring mental health in the Capital Region. Few issues reach quite as far as this one, affecting all of us in one way or another. Consider that one in four people will experience mental health challenges in their lifetimes. That in 2016, Victoria, was one of three BC cities with the highest number of suicides. That 84,000 children and youth in BC have a diagnosed mental disorder. We also know that mental health challenges aren’t limited to age or gender or socio-economic group. We are all susceptible, as are our family members, our friends, our coworkers and neighbours. The implications of that – personally, economically and societally – are significant, and it’s

with that in mind that we share this guide. In it we explore common mental health concerns, symptoms to watch for, and suggestions for improving and supporting our mental health. Throughout this guide, you’ll find local resources you can turn to for additional information and vital resources. With information comes awareness and understanding, with the goal of reducing the stigma that prevents people from seeking the help they need. Black Press Media extends its thanks to our community sponsors – Island Health and the Courtnall Society for Mental Health. We are grateful for their support and participation, and for the many people working to make a difference in the mental health of our community. Thank you.

What’s inside

Starting the conversation....... 5 A community focus on mental health..................... 6 Navigating the news................ 7 Recognizing depression.......... 7 Understanding mental illnesses...................... 8 Help heal hearts and minds... 8 Wellness in the workplace..... 8 Experiencing anxiety? You’re not alone....................... 9


Community support, close to home........................ 10

A special community project published by the Victoria News and Monday Magazine. vicnews.com | mondaymag.com

Hope & help for residents in mental health crisis ......... 10 Wellness in the workplace... 12

Associate Group



Jennifer Blyth jennifer.blyth@blackpress.ca

Janet Gairdner

Talking with teens about mental health.............. 14 Eco-anxiety............................ 16


Removing stigma.................. 18

Ruby Della Siega ruby@mondaymag.com

Mental health & substance use.................... 21

Creative Director


Lily Chan

Arnold Lim

Creative Design Michelle Gjerde

Depression in older adults .. 22 Rebuilding our social connection muscles.............. 23 Reducing the risk of suicide................................ 24 Caring for the caregiver........ 26 Walking together through grief & loss.............. 26

To request more copies, call 250-360-0817 4


Resource directory................ 28

We’re In It Together


How to start the conversation


hen it comes to our mental health, so much can start from talking about what we’re feeling, and what’s going on for us. No matter what you’re experiencing, sharing can help you feel less alone, especially when you’ve been struggling to handle everything yourself. How to get started, though? Sometimes that’s not so easy. The Foundry offers some suggestions to get the conversation going.

Who do I want to talk to?

It can be helpful to look for someone who you’re comfortable with, someone you trust, who won’t judge you or downplay what you’re going through, will respect your privacy, will take you seriously, and will be understanding and accepting. If you just want to talk, a friend may be a great choice. If you want to find professional help, an adult, such as a parent, doctor or teacher, might be a better choice. And if you’re not sure where to start, or prefer to talk to someone anonymously, phone, text and online chat options are available. Here are some options: • Parent, or other family member • Partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse

• Friend or co-worker will react, you could test the waters, • Teacher/school counsellor/ perhaps talking about a coach story you read in the • Family doctor news that’s similar • Peer support worker to your challenge, • Phone or online and see how the The Canadian Mental Health chat person reacts. Association offers 3 tests to help What kind of help evaluate your wellness: This will offer do I want from an idea of their • cmha.ca/mental-health-meter them? views and whether • cmha.ca/whatsYou might find it your-stress-index they’re likely to be helpful to think ahead supportive. • cmha.ca/work-lifeabout what kind of balance-quiz You could also start a support you’re looking for conversation more generally – do you just want to talk, are – talk about how you’ve not been you looking for more information feeling great, rather than saying you’re or to find services such as counselling? Writing down a few notes might also be feeling depressed/anxious/stressed/ helpful. etc. Be prepared for a range of different How do I want to communicate? reactions, and remember that someThere’s no right way to reach out one’s initial reaction isn’t always their to start the conversation, so do what longer term reaction. The person may feels most comfortable for you – facebe surprised at the information you to-face, phone or text, online chat or email. share and it may take a little while for them to process it. Life is full of ups Starting the conversation and downs, and sharing our experiencStart by explaining that you need es with the people who care about us help with a problem – you might think of a few examples of what’s going on to can help make things better. For more information, visit help them better understand. foundrybc.ca If you’re unsure how the person

How do you feel?



We’re In It Together

Bringing a community focus to mental health Did you know that in any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health issue or illness? And by age 40, about 50 per cent of the population will have or have had a mental illness? Beyond the personal toll this presents, the annual economic burden of mental illness in Canada is estimated at about $51 billion, including health care costs, lost productivity and reductions in health-related quality of life. Mental well-being has become one of the most prevalent health challenges of our time, affecting people from all walks of life, ages and genders. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the situation and exposed more people than ever to the struggle for mental health. Consider, for example: • 58,000 children in B.C. are not receiving the mental health treatment they need • 900,000 British Columbians are currently experiencing mental health issues or substance use problems • 1 in 4 Canadians age 18+ screened positive for symptoms of depression, anxiety or PTSD in 2021 • 4,000 Canadians per year die by suicide – an average of almost 11 suicides per day

• 2,224 lives in BC were claimed by toxic illicit drug supply in 2021

Better care is possible The good news is that with the right support, things can get better. The Courtnall Society for Mental Health (CSMH) envisions communities where help for those living with mental health challenges is sustainable, inclusive and accessible. Launched in 2021 by brothers Geoff, Russ and Bruce Courtnall, the Victoria-based society promotes the understanding of mental health through awareness, education and resources, and raises funds year-round to provide grants to support community-centric mental health organizations across Canada. However, the society’s roots reach back much farther. Islanders will remember a series of star-studded fundraisers beginning in 2003, when National Hockey League veterans Geoff and Russ, with brother Bruce, welcomed stars from sport, entertainment and business to a golf and gala celebration. Then known as the Courtnall Celebrity Classic Society, the Courtnall brothers raised more than $3 million over the years, funding the opening of the Royal

Jubilee Hospital’s Archie Courtnall Centre and providing vital support to the hospital’s Patient Care Centre. Named for their father, Archie Courtnall, who battled depression and was a victim of suicide in 1978, the centre has welcomed 57,000 patient visits since opening in 2005. Through the Courtnall Society for Mental Health, the brothers continue their mission, with an emphasis on supporting those working on the ground in local communities. The Society is dedicated to raising funds to provide grants to grassroots organizations helping those with mental health challenges. Strengthening these communitybased organizations will mean people who are struggling will have better access to preventive care, treatment and the support they need to cope, recover and regain their mental health. Earlier this year, the Courtnall brothers were thrilled to welcome Dr. Wei-Yi Song to join the CSMH board. With his in-depth academic training and extensive experience in psychiatry and mental health, Dr. Song is an incredibly valuable addition as a subject matter expert.

Brothers Geoff, Russ and Bruce Courtnall founded the Courtnall Society for Mental Health to support grass-roots mental health initiatives. 6


We’re In It Together In addition to serving as Department Head help they need quickly and easily. and Island Medical Director for Psychiatry “It’s about getting people access to help, and Mental Health and when and where they need Substance Use within it, and working to increase Island Health, Dr. Song understanding about mental is on the Executive health challenges,” Drew says. Committee of UBC The ability to talk about Psychiatry and serves as mental health, and to ask for a clinical professor, and help when we need it, are vital is the former president first steps. of the Canadian “Mental health affects Psychiatric Association. everyone,” says Russ Courtnall, “When the Courtnalls Society Vice President. “Let’s brought the Archie start talking about it.” Courtnall Centre to How can you help? Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Supporting mental health in the Hospital, it presented a Dr. Wei-Yi Song, board member, community begins with simply very different opportunity Courtnall Society for Mental talking about it. “Being open for delivery,” he says. about our struggles allows us Health “It provided a facility for to find solutions,” notes Bruce the most vulnerable requiring emergency Courtnall, Society President. psychiatric care, and it really made an The more we normalize these topics, the impression on me.” easier it will be for people to reach out for help when it’s needed. More work to be done You can also contribute by organizing an While progress is being made, much more event or fundraiser, or donating directly work remains to be done to address the – donations make it possible to support mental health needs of adults and youth – organizations doing life-changing work in needs that have only become more apparent communities here at home and across the during the pandemic. country. Today, working with executive director The Courtnall Society for Mental Health Shannon Drew, the Courtnall Society for strives to maximize the impact of every dollar Mental Health is eyeing a wider scope, raising raised and, through its grants, works to funds to provide grants to organizations ensure that funding is invested in programs helping those with mental health challenges. that positively influence and guide how The aim is to support community-focused mental health is accessed and delivered. services, to ensure people have access to the Learn more today at courtnallsociety.org

Recognizing depression Depression can affect anybody – regardless of age or gender. A mood disorder, depression will affect 1 in 8 Canadians at some point in their lives, often arising during times of change, whether physical, like hormonal changes, or life changes, like leaving for university or retirement. Youth and older adults are both at higher risk of depression, in addition to those with chronic illness, and with substance use problems. Those from different cultures may also hold beliefs about depression that can affect how they deal with it. While depression is diagnosed twice as

much in women as men, reasons include life-cycle changes, hormonal changes, higher rates of childhood abuse or relationship violence, and social pressures. And because men may be less comfortable seeking help, depression in men may be highly under-reported. Men often feel emotionally numb or angry when depressed whereas women may feel more emotional. Like anxiety, treatment for depression can be very effective. Options include counselling, medication, light therapy, electroconvulsive therapy for those with severe depression or who can’t take medications or haven’t responded to other treatments, and self-help – exercise, nutrition and building connections.

Learn more at Mood Disorders Association of BC – mdabc.net; 1-855-282-7979 CMHA-BC Division – cmha.bc.ca or call 1-800-555-8222

Navigating the news Global warming, political turmoil, COVID ... sometimes the news isn’t just bad, it’s downright scary and can seem overwhelming. The Foundry shares a few ways you can take care of yourself when negative thoughts are hard to turn off: • Set firm time limits. If you want to see the news, set a time to stop regardless of what you’re seeing. • Try to not consume news before bedtime to avoid worry and lost sleep. If you’ve heard upsetting news before bed, find another activity for the evening such as reading a book or connecting with family. • Make an effort to find good news. • Set boundaries. Let others know you may be uncomfortable discussing current events. If someone insists, you can say, “I choose not to look into the news that would make me upset right now. I know it’s good to stay updated, but I want to take care of myself first.” • Change up your social media feed – you can unfollow sources or mute notifications to help limit what you’re seeing. Like or follow positive posts, inspirational quotes or cute animals you’re interested in to help change the algorithm preferences of your social media. Step away from social media, even for a day. • Volunteer, donate or support causes you’re concerned about. Connect with others with similar views. • Send messages of gratitude to service people like firefighters, police, or charities to help convey positive feelings. Learn more about a wealth of mental health topics at foundrybc.ca



We’re In It Together / At Work UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESSES Health professionals divide mental illnesses into several different groups based on signs or symptoms. The Canadian Mental Health Association describes some common groups of mental illnesses:

Anxiety disorders Anxiety disorders are all related to anxiety. They may include excessive and uncontrollable worry, strong fears around everyday things or situations, unwanted thoughts, panic attacks, or fears around a past scary situation. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses, and can create barriers in people’s lives. Panic disorder and phobias are examples of anxiety disorders.

Mood disorders Mood disorders all affect a person’s mood – the way they feel. This can affect every part of a person’s life. When someone experiences a mood disorder, they may feel sad, hopeless, tired, or numb for long periods of time. At times, some people experience an unusually ‘high’ mood and feel powerful and energetic, but this can also create problems. Depression and bipolar disorder are examples of mood disorders.

Eating disorders Eating disorders really aren’t about food. They’re complicated illnesses that are often a way to cope with difficult problems or regain a sense of control. Continued on page 9 8

HELP HEAL HEARTS & MINDS United Way’s Blue Love Campaign for Mental Health


he demand for mental health services has doubled on Vancouver Island since COVID-19 turned our lives upside down. Many of us are struggling. Even before the pandemic, one in four people on Vancouver Island were experiencing mental health challenges. Community organizations that provide mental health and counselling services are overwhelmed trying to meet the demand. “At a time in my life when I desperately needed counselling and support, I got help,” Tiffany says. “Without this, I don’t know where I’d be or if I’d even be alive.” Mental health issues can be difficult to talk about. “Mental health is not prioritized in our society and is stigmatized in a way that not only inhibits people from accessing services when they need them, but services are not commonly provided in an accessible way,” Tiffany says. Thankfully Tiffany got help when she needed it. Like Tiffany, many other people on Southern Vancouver Island are suffering but can’t get help due to long waitlists or limited service hours. For someone in crisis, delays in getting help can be catastrophic. Because of the help she received, Tiffany is stronger than ever. Now she volunteers her time to help others through the same organization that helped her. United Way’s Blue Love Campaign for Mental Health is raising funds so that people seeking support can quickly and efficiently access the help they need. The “Blue Love” Campaign arose from the concept that not everyone’s heart is red. Often, hearts are black and blue


from years of trauma or life-altering events that have left an emotional scar. A global pandemic is a shared, worldwide trauma – and one that has turned many hearts blue. United Way Southern Vancouver Island funds 31 critical mental health programs and services delivered by our Blue Love community partners: Anawim Companions Society; AVI Health & Community Services; BCG South Island; Connections Place; Esquimalt Neighbourhood House; Family Services of Greater Victoria; Greater Victoria Citizens’ Counselling Centre; Hulitan Family & Community Services; Mental Health Recovery Partners; NEED2 Suicide Prevention Education & Support; Peers Victoria; Sooke Family Resource Society; Sooke Transition House; South Island Centre for Counselling & Training; Take A Hike Foundation; The Oasis Society of Spiritual Health; The Victoria Empowerment Society; The Worker Solidarity Network; Umbrella Society for Addictions & Mental Health; Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees Association; Vancouver Island Men’s Therapy Centre; Victoria Cool Aid Society; Victoria Sexual Assault Centre; and Victoria Youth Clinic. You can help. Donate today at uwsvi.ca.

We’re In It Together EXPERIENCING ANXIETY? You’re not alone


f you’ve experienced the heart-racing, stomach-churning signs of a panic attack, or a mind flooded with worry that something bad will happen, you’re not alone. According to the organization Here To Help, anxiety is the most common type of mental disorder, affecting 12 per cent of BC’s population, or one in eight people, in a given year. Anxiety disorders describe a group of related mental illnesses. While anxiety and stress problems can have much in common, in an anxiety disorder, symptoms are extreme and don’t go away once the stress is over. Different types of anxiety disorders include phobias, post-traumatic stress, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder,

for various reasons, including hormonal changes, caregiving stress, and greater comfort level than men in seeking help. Anxiety disorders most often appear in youth, with phobias and OCD showing up in early childhood and panic disorders and social phobias in teen years. In fact, an estimated 6.5 per cent of BC youth have an anxiety disorder. Other risk factors include family history, personality and social factors, occupational factors in the case of PTSD, and chronic illness. However, anxiety disorders are among the most treatable mental illnesses. Treatment can include: • Counselling – Many people with anxiety disorders benefit from cognitive-behavioural therapy. A mental health professional trained in CBT can help you work through the thoughts, emotions, behaviours and triggers

UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESSES Eating disorders may include seriously restricting how much food a person eats, binging, or purging food. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are examples of eating disorders.

Psychotic disorders

Psychosis is a health problem that affects how people understand what is real and what isn’t real. People may sense things that aren’t real or strongly believe things that can’t be real. Schizophrenia is one example of a psychotic disorder.

Personality disorders

Personality disorders are patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that may last for a long time and create challenges in a person’s life. People who experience personality disorders may have difficulties developing healthy and satisfying relationships with others, managing their emotions well, avoiding harmful behaviour and working toward important life goals. Personality disorders can affect the way people understand and view themselves and others, and how they cope with problems. Borderline personality disorder is one example of a personality disorder. Continued on page 10

contributing to your anxiety, and teach you coping skills. • Medication – Anti-anxiety medications can be used in combination with counselling to reduce your body’s response to anxiety. • Support groups – Share your experiences and learn from the experiences of others. • Self-help – Regular exercise, eating well, managing stress, spending time with friends and family, spirituality and monitoring your use of alcohol and other drugs can help.

For more information:

AnxietyBC – anxietybc.com or 604-525-7566. Heretohelp.bc.ca – info, tips and self-tests. HealthLink BC – call 811 or visit healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information.

WE’RE THE HEU ON THE FRONT LINES and behind the scenes, our members are working for your care.

 /hospitalemployeesunion  @heu_in_bc \ @HospEmpUnion  heu.org MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCE GUIDE


We’re In It Together UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESSES Continued from page 9

Childhood disorders This is a large group of mental illnesses that start to affect people when they’re young, though some people are not diagnosed until they’re older. One example of a disorder in this group is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD), which affects a person’s ability to focus, complete tasks, plan or organize, sit still, or think through actions.

Dementia Dementia refers to a group of symptoms. It can be caused by a disease that mainly affects nerve cells in the brain or can be associated with many other medical conditions. Dementia impacts a person’s memory, language abilities, concentration, organization skills, mood and behaviours. Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia.

A note on suicide Suicide, when someone ends their life on purpose, is not a mental illness in itself. Not all people who die by suicide experience a mental illness. However, suicide may be linked to many different mental illnesses. It’s important to take any talk or thoughts of suicide seriously and seek help. To learn more, visit cmha.ca. 10

/ Time to Talk

Community support, close to home Mental health. We hear about it, read about it, and speak about our own sense of it on a regular basis. But what does this, all too common, pairing of words actually refer to? What do they mean and what are we really talking about? It’s a widely agreed upon, but not limited to, idea that, ‘mental health’ refers to our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. For instance, our mental health can be negatively impacted by stress and isolation, and it can, almost always, be positively impacted by safe social connections, activities and sometimes by medication, says Positive relationships, community and adequate Chris Forester, Executive Director of support are among the pillars of mental health. Island Community Mental Health. Island Mental Health promotes ‘pillars of mental health’ like nutritious food, integration in the communities surrounding sleep and exercise that have a positive impact Victoria through partnerships with the individu- all people’s mental health. al, their family members and the community. To those, we should add secure housing Operating since 1956, Island Community and reliable income. On top of these we must Mental Health is a non-profit organization that include positive relationships, community and offers psychosocial rehabilitation services to adequate support that is client centered and people who live with a mental illness. Each recovery oriented. year they provide services to more than 800 “At Island Community Mental Health Assoadults in the Capital Regional District who are ciation we do just that. Striving to provide comrecovering from mental illness. prehensive services, ICMHA offers skills-based Mental health, in all of its vast variations and group and one-on-one programming, housing expressions, may be the single most universal and housing support, employment and educaexperience that all people share in common. tion services all designed to meet the varying It is ubiquitous. But, just as no two people are mental health needs of our community.“ alike, neither are their mental health journeys It’s in community, we help. or their mental health needs. Learn more about the work of Island With that being said, there are universal Community Mental Health, at icmha.ca

Hope & help for residents in mental health crisis A new mental health organization is working to provide much-needed peer support services in Victoria. See Spring Mental Wellness Coalition was founded by a group of Victoria residents with lived experience, and frustration navigating the city’s mental health services. See Spring will offer non-medical crisis spaces to people in Victoria living with suicidal thoughts and other mental health challenges. Programs will include a


warmline, a 24/7 drop-in crisis centre, and a respite house for longer stays, all run by peers with lived and living experience of mental illness, and based on models that have been successful elsewhere. “Peer support is the key to creating excellent, safe, and meaningful support for people in crisis,” says Jenifer Wilson, See Spring’s policy director. “And it also takes the pressure off other supports.” Spring won’t take the place

of emergency services, and will be in close contact with them as needed. And most importantly, people in crisis will get the support they need. “This will support those who are struggling and have experienced serious harm, individually and systemically, in traditional healthcare settings.” See Spring is currently raising funds to get resources in place as quickly as possible. Learn more at seespringcoalition.org

Island Community Mental Health (ICMHA) (operating since 1956)

A non - profit organization offering psychosocial rehabilitation service to individuals living with mental health challenges

ICHMA offers a continuum of supports, providing a comprehensive service delivery model including housing and licensed care, as well as a wide array of supportive skills-based programs, including: • Housing and housing supports & Licensed Care • Grow Recovery Programs- promotes wellness and community integration • Networks – supported Employment / Education • Seniors ‘ supportive network • Bridges Centre activity based program

For More information on ICMHA visit our website: www.icmha.ca

‘To help individuals experiencing mental health challenges by promoting individuals recovery through evidence – based programs, housing community partnerships, client and family involvement’

125 Skinner Street Victoria • 250- 389- 1211 (supported by Island Health and BC Housing)

Wellness in the workplace


24 hours/day, 7 days/week

Volunteer and Staff Crisis Line Responders provide: Short-Term Emotional Support Crisis Intervention Suicide Prevention and Safety Risk Assessment Respect for Confidentiality, Diversity, Cultural Sensitivity and Personal Empowerment

The Crisis Line serves as the Public Access to Mental Health and Substance Use Services on Vancouver Island Crisis Chat


Crisis Text 250-800-3806

Both from 6 pm to 10 pm 7 days/week

Given that we spend much of our lives at work, it’s important that employees feel supported in their mental health. The Victoria branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association – BC offers a variety of programs and workshops designed to help, including: • Awareness of Mental Health at Work – a workshop designed to help build comfort in talking about mental health and mental illness, and learn how to respond in a supportive way to co-workers who may be experiencing a mental illness. • For My Health! Workplace Screening – a fun, interactive health promotion integrating physical and mental health screening and education. • Mental Health Works – talking about mental

health at work can be challenging, but becoming aware of signs of mental illnesses and learning how to have those difficult discussions are part of being an effective leader. • Safe and Sound – creating a safe workplace goes beyond hard hats and ergonomics. It’s also protecting the psychological health and safety of employees. • Understanding Addiction – an online training program for those working with people who face challenges with addiction. • Workplace Mental Health webinars – free onehour webinars covering a range of workplace mental health strategies. For details about these and other programs, visit victoria.cmha.bc.ca

Support for women leaving abuse

• Safe Emergency Shelter • Second Stage Housing • Supportive Counselling • Community & Connection Help is available. Call: (250) 479-3963 Up to 80% of women who have been in a violent relationship have received at least one brain injury from a partner. Learn more about our services for survivors at https://cridge.org/ipv-bi/ 12


Southern Vancouver Island

Not all hearts are red. Some are black and blue, but can be made better by someone like you. BLUE LOVE FOR MENTAL HEALTH

United Way’s Blue Love Campaign for Mental Health is raising funds for counselling, peer support and outreach services across Southern Vancouver Island. Because no person should have to wait for help in a time of crisis, give today.

DONATE uwsvi.ca

We’re In It Together / Teens Resources: Living Life to the Full for Youth – A fun, interactive course providing 13- to 18-year-olds with the inspiration and tools to get the most out of life. This eight-week community-based course provides simple, practical skills for coping with stress, problem solving, boosting mood, and busting bad thoughts, and has been shown to improve mood and well-being and reduce stress and anxiety. Info: bluewavebc.ca Janice Lee Blue Wave Bursary – A post-secondary bursary program open to BC youth under age 20 who have experienced a significant mental health or substance use problem. Info: bluewavebc.ca Talk Today – A mental health education program from Canadian Mental Health Association – BC, developed for the BC Hockey League, to help athletes and their supporters learn about mental health and to help support players who may be struggling or at risk of suicide. Info: cmha.bc.ca 14


with your teens about mental health


be there. een years can be challenging times • Ask your teen what they need. They when it comes to mental health. Not might already have a good idea of the only do youth face changing bodies, next steps they’d like to take. hormones and school and family pressures, • Don’t worry about having all the answers but today’s 24/7 society and pervasive right away. This can be an opportunity to social media add pressures unseen by learn together. previous generations. • Offer alternatives. It can be So, if a teen comes to you difficult for some teens to talk with mental health conwith their parents about some cerns or questions, how subjects. Give additional placshould you react? es to seek support, such as Here are some 1 in 7 youth will a school counsellor, another suggests from the Caexperience a mental family member, a local mennadian Mental Health tal health or youth organizaAssociation: illness at some point. tion, a website, or a phone line. • Take their concerns – cmha.bc.ca • Talk about safe situations to seriously. It might be share personal details. It’s very easy to dismiss a teenhard to take information back once ager’s concerns as ‘just it’s posted on social media or shared hormones’ or ‘just another part of with others, so encourage your teen to growing up,’ but that isn’t helpful. Even if think about safe places to talk and seek you can’t relate to the problem, you can support. still express concerns about your teen’s • Seek outside help if you need to. Your worry or distress. family doctor is a great place to start. • Take time to listen – without judgment. If They may be able to assess problems you’re in the middle of something else, and provide treatment. They’ll also refer find a time later in the day when you can your teen to specialized mental health talk and give them your full attention. services, if needed. Don’t judge what you hear. Just listen and


Did you know?

We’re In It Together School counsellors can also help, offering supports at school, and referring your teen to resources in the community.

and you should start to feel better as things improve. For example, if they feel anxious about a school project, the feelings should go away when the project is finished.

Just listen and be there

What do I say?

period or is expressing a lot of negative thoughts about themselves or the situation. Everyone will have a bad day, or even a bad week, at times. It’s normal to feel low, stressed or anxious when experiencing conflict, disappointment, loss or other upsetting situations. The key is that the feelings should match the situation

Do you need more help?

Many mental illnesses start during the teen years, yet The more you model these key messages yourself, the many teens don’t receive the help they need right more effective they’ll be. away. Working towards good mental health and Mental health is an important part of everyone’s seeking help early means teens can get back health. When you have good mental health, you Youth & family on their feet quicker when problems arise. can cope better with stress. resources When you have poor mental health, you When should I talk to my teen? might have a harder time feeling good about To learn more about local Make mental health an ongoing topic of yourself. organizations providing conversation. Mental health changes just like physical services for youth and Be there and be interested whenevhealth can, so don’t ignore problems. families, see the er your teen wants to talk, and don’t be Even if you’re diagnosed with a mental Resource Guide, afraid to ask questions to get the conversaillness, mental illnesses are treatable. pages 28 to 30. tion started. You don’t need to have all the answers. You You can also bring up mental health when just need to be open, curious and compassionate. you notice your teen is going through a stressful

Contact a community organization like the Victoria branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, or the other organizations listed in the Resources section of this guide to learn more about support and resources in the local community. Learn more at cmha.ca.

MOMS STOP THE HARM Because it could be your loved one. Have you lost a loved one to substance-use related harms? Are you supporting a loved one who is struggling? Moms Stop The Harm (MSTH) is a network of Canadian families impacted by substance-use related harms and deaths. We offer support to families through the following support groups: • Healing Hearts Bereavement Support • Holding Hope Groups (for those supporting a loved one who uses substances)

For further information regarding our organization and support to families ~ info@momsstoptheharm.com



We’re In It Together

Feeling blue? blue Put down your phone, pick up a pencil and head outside Wars and pandemics, coupled with the stresses and Established as a national charity in 2012, The Bateman tensions they create, are no longer hidden or down-played Foundation has been inspiring and rebuilding our connecthrough an inability to acquire minute-by-minute information to nature through art. Launched in 2016, the Naturetion. Humanity’s newfound reliance and engagement in Sketch program embraces the philosophies of world-retechnology and social media have permanently changed nowned artist and naturalist Robert Bateman to engage that. participants in the practice of mindfulness within Youth and young adults spend an average of nature and to combat the effects of nature over six hours a day on screens, according to deprivation. studies by the Canadian Mental Health AsResearch conducted by the Canadian sociation. Numerous studies have reported Mental Health Association shows that that the pressures of technology and social mindfulness can improve health and Young people aged 15 media have created an alarming spike in well-being and that nature-based expresto 24 are more likely to rates of anxiety and depression for people sive arts programming fosters physical, experience mental illness between the ages of 15 to 24. mental, and social health and well-being. and/or substance use The Bateman Foundation provides a Since 2020 (through the height of the disorders than any unique approach to alleviating the mental pandemic), NatureSketch has connected other age group. health crisis: let nature heal and inspire you. over 4,000 participants to the natural world – camh.ca Their flagship educational program, Naturethrough the simple practice of sketching. Sketch, uses the power of nature and art to Participants are guided by an artist and inspire a connection with the natural world. It allows a naturalist as they learn about local ecosystems students to discover the environment through an artistic through sketch and study. perspective and to be immersed and receive the healing The Bateman Foundation has made NatureSketch classes effects of the natural world. available in-person and online, reaching people not only

Did you know?



We’re In It Together Help for the effects of eco-anxiety

in Canada, but around the world. In 2021, the Bateman Foundation’s NatureSketch in-person program expanded to 10 Canadian cities. Guided by the words of Robert Bateman, Eco-anxiety is a type of stress caused by seeing the negative effects of cli“Nature is magic,” the Bateman Foundamate change and worrying about the future for yourself and later generations, tion hopes to provide that connection for explains the Foundry. Feelings of helplessness, loss and frustration can also people of all ages to experience the inherent arise when we feel unable to make a difference in stopping climate change. benefits of nature and inspire generations to The Foundry offers a few tips that may help: protect it. • Connect with family, friends, neighbours and community groups about your To learn more about the NatureSketch feelings toward climate change. Check out youth-led events led by Climate program, visit batemanfoundation.org/naStrike Canada and Fridays for Future Canada. You can volunteer with organituresketch/ or visit the Bateman Gallery, lozations such as BC Parks, Wildlife Rescue Association of BC or Environmental cated in Victoria’s historic steamship terminal Youth Alliance. building at 470 Belleville St. • Start a climate change initiative in your own community. Through educational • Spend time in green spaces. Time in nature, such as parks, beaches programs, community and trails can reduce stress. See the places you want to protect. collaborations and • Learn what you can do. You’re not powerless in the fight against gallery exhibitions, the climate change: use reusable bags, use energy wisely and eat less red foundation inspires a If you or someone you meat. deeper relationship know is in crisis now, • Talk to a counsellor or therapist. They may not be climate experts, with the natural world. call 911 or your local but they understand overwhelming feelings and how to approach Volunteers and docrisis line, listed on them. Consider reaching out if you notice stress and worry affecting nations are welcomed page 28 your daily life. at batemanfounation.org/ Learn more at foundrybc.ca support-us/.

Need help now?

Is someone you love living with a mental illness?

You are not alone. BC Schizophrenia Society offers: Direct Family Support Family Support Group Meetings Education programs for Families, Friends, and the Community as a whole.... and more!

Connect with an Educator in your area Contact Vancouver Island Manager, Danita Senf vimanager@bcss.org 250-709-2985 MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCE GUIDE


We’re In It Together / Reducing Stigma 7 STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO REDUCE STIGMA 1. Know the facts. Educate yourself about mental illness including substance use disorders. 2. Be aware of your attitudes and behaviour. Examine your own judgmental thinking, reinforced by your upbringing and society. 3. Choose your words carefully. The way we speak can affect the attitudes of others. 4. Educate others. Pass on facts and positive attitudes; challenge myths and stereotypes. 5. Focus on the positive. Mental illness, including addiction, is only part of anyone’s larger picture. 6. Support people. Treat everyone with dignity and respect; offer support and encouragement. 7. Include everyone. It’s against the law to deny jobs or services to anyone with these health issues. From the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), camh.ca. RESOURCES: • Bell Let’s Talk: letstalk.bell.ca/en • Island Health Mental Health programs islandhealth.ca/ learnabout-health/mental-health • Here to Help: heretohelp.bc.ca Canadian Mental Health 18

Removing stigma: ‘Let’s not make mental illness a secret’

“How does stigma feel? It’s like wearing a letter of shame; a body-blow when people shun you. It can crush you down and add to the pain of what you’re already dealing with,” says Lisa Ridgway, a member of the Patient Voices Network. By Susan Evans, Editor, Island Health magazine ccording to Canada’s Mental Health Commission, 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health problem or illness every year. That’s about 7 million of us. Despite how common it is, mental illness continues to be met with widespread stigma, often from our own friends and family. Stigma is experienced when others judge you because of a personal quality, trait, or condition. Because of stigma, others may look down on you. According to HealthLink BC, stigma occurs when others: • Don’t understand the mental health problem or think it’s a laughing matter.


• Don’t realize that a mental health problem is an illness that can be treated. • Think that a mental health problem is “your own fault” or that you can “get over it.” • Are afraid they might someday have a mental health problem themselves. • Are nervous around you. Mental illness is exactly that – an illness – and stigma can get in the way of seeking treatment.


According to researchers, the more stigma can be reduced, the better the outcomes for people and programs promoting mental health. Lisa Ridgway was diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression in late 2016; she found successful treatment with her psychiatrist, Dr. Song and through Island Health’s Mental Wellness Day Program at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. Her illness and recovery inspired her to give back through the Patient Voices Network. “I didn’t open up about my illness with colleagues; I was a lawyer for 15 years – although I had started to back away from my practice and was no longer in court. I knew that, for the most part, lawyers are afraid of mental illness,” says Ridgway. “I felt that if I shared what was going on with me, I would be judged negatively. I really felt like I couldn’t reach out to colleagues for help.” Those with mental health problems may feel shame or guilt – you might not want your employer or even your friends to know. This is called “self-stigma” and it can keep

We’re In It Together Continued from page 18

you from getting treatment or finding work. “The stigma I felt most was probably self-imposed. I put a lot of expectations on myself and being unable to meet those expectations, both personally and professionally, felt like I failed myself,” says Ridgway. “To compound my feelings of self-stigma, I also found that some family members and friends were uncomfortable around me – they were concerned that I would be unpredictable or simply didn’t know how to talk to me, so they avoided or even dropped me from their lives,” adds Ridgway


Stigma can be experienced on three levels: self-stigma, public stigma and structural stigma. SELF-STIGMA occurs when people feel ashamed and blameworthy, and try to conceal their illness from others. This may include avoiding situations

where they think they might feel stigmatized. Avoiding stigma is thought to be one of the key reasons why the majority of people with a mental illness don’t seek care.

“Mental health is as critical to your wellbeing as physical health,” says Ridgway. “If you ask someone ‘how are you?’, actually mean it, and if they tell you they are experiencing some mental health issues, then really listen. It’s the PUBLIC STIGMA encompasses all the normalization of mental health – the prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory acceptance of the everyday nature of behaviours expressed toward people with a mental illness by members of the mental health for everyone.” The annual Bell Let’s Talk Day and public – attitudes that are often resistant awareness campaign is well recognized to change. These include the ideas that for its effort to help reduce stigma and people with a mental illness can never promote awareness and understanding. recover; they are violent and unpredictThis campaign is designed to drive the able; and they are blameworthy and national conversation to help reduce this could control their illness. stigma and promote awareness and unSTRUCTURAL STIGMA occurs at the derstanding. Bell believes that “talking level of institutions, policies and laws. It is an important first step towards lasting creates situations in which people with change.” a mental illness are treated inequitably “Let’s not make mental illness a and unfairly – for example, when they’re secret anymore,” says Ridgway. “It’s denied their basic human rights, or when not a family secret or secret between policy agendas do not give mental health spouses or a secret from the people you issues high priority. work with. The more we talk about it, the How can we change attitudes? How better for everyone.” can we stop stigmatizing those with Reprinted with permission from Island Health mental illness? magazine.

Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities and Mental Health Challenges www.accesswork.ca MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCE GUIDE



Member Benefits

Membership is free and for life, for anyone over 18 years of age living with serious mental illness. Members can visit as often as desired to get their lives back and move forward.

• Year round access to our clubhouse centre Monday to Friday 9-4 • No cost programing • $2.00 lunches everyday • Connections to a supportive peer community • Service navigation and referral support

(250) 483-3748

info@connectionsplace.org www.connectionsplace.org

We’re In It Together / Substance Use

MENTAL HEALTH & SUBSTANCE USE At least 20 per cent of people with a mental illness have a co-occurring substance use problem


ccording to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, people with a mental illness are twice as likely to have a substance use problem compared to the general population. At least 20 per cent of people with a mental illness have a co-occurring substance use problem. For people with schizophrenia, the number may be as high as 50 per cent. Similarly, people with substance use problems are up to three times more likely to have a mental illness. More than 15 per cent of people with a substance use problem have a co-occurring mental illness. Additionally, the study found that 37 per cent of people diagnosed with an alcohol disorder will have a mental health disorder at some point in their lives and 53 per cent of those diagnosed with a substance use disorder other than alcohol will also have a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. While there’s no simple cause of

concurrent disorders, the Centre nia, make people more sensitive shares several reasons a person to substances; they may develop might develop both a mental health substance use problems with lower problem and a substance use probamounts of drug or alcohol use than lem: people without a mental disorder. • A person may turn to The effects of concurrent alcohol or drugs to cope disorders vary from perDid you with symptoms of a son to person and may mental disorder, depend on substancknow? such as anxiety. es used and mental People with substance • Substance use may health problems a lead to situations person has and how use problems are up that make mental severe the problems to three times more disorders more are. likely to have a mental likely to occur. For Some effects that illness. example, alcohol tend to arise with conabuse may lead to a current disorders include marriage break-up, which more severe psychiatric in turn can lead to major depressymptoms, such as a worsening sion. of depression; more severe effects • For some, a common factor may from substance use; and increased lead to both mental health and suicidal feelings or behaviour. substance use problems, such as a To learn more, visit camh.ca biological factor or an event such as You can also learn more at islandemotional trauma. health.ca/learn-about-health/sub• Some severe and chronic mental stance-use-addiction disorders, such as schizophreMENTAL HEALTH RESOURCE GUIDE


We’re In It Together / Seniors Recognizing depression in older adults


ccording to the World Health Organization, depression is among the most significant mental health concerns affecting older adults, and one that will pose greater concerns as the senior population here in Canada and around the world grows. Different from normal feelings of sadness, grief or low energy, depression is an illness that causes you to feel sad or hopeless much of the time, explains HealthLinkBC. Further, depression is not a normal byproduct of age. Older adults may experience major life changes or challenges that trigger depression, such as losing a spouse, living with a long-term health problem, or leaving their family home. Like others who experience a life change, older adults may feel sad and may grieve and recover, or they may develop depression. However, depression is often missed in older adults.

Among those more likely to be depressed include: • Older women. • Those who have lost their partners. • Those without friends or family who can support them. • Those who’ve had a medical problem such as a heart attack, stroke or broken hip or with chronic pain or illness. • Those who’ve had depression before or have a family history of depression. In older adults, untreated depression can last for years and can lead to or worsen other physical and mental health problems. It also makes suicide more likely, HealthLinkBC notes. Common symptoms of depression, such as sadness and loss of interest, occur in older adults just as they do in younger adults. But older adults also may: • Feel confused or forgetful. • Stop seeing friends and doing things.

• Have a hard time sleeping. • Not feel like eating. Because these symptoms are sometimes like symptoms of other diseases, depression may not be recognized. Forgetting things might be seen as a sign of dementia rather than depression. But people can have both. Certain medicines may also cause depression. Older adults may avoid seeking help for depression, perhaps because of related stigma; sometimes the cost of medicines and treatment can prevent older adults from seeking help. If your doctor thinks you are depressed, they’ll ask you questions about your health and feelings. This is called a mental health assessment. From staying active to staying connected, seniors have many strategies for addressing and preventing depression. Learn more at healthlinkbc.ca or victoria.cmha.bc.ca

Keeping seniors informed on the issues that matter most • Health Care • Housing • Income Supports • Community Supports • Transportation • Seniors Safety


Call us today for information and referrals to seniors services

1-877-952-3181 (toll free) or BC211 seniorsadvocatebc.ca http://www.senioradvocatebc.ca/ info@seniorsadvocatebc.ca mailto:info@seniorsadvocatebc.ca @SrsAdvocateBC 22



Dial 2-1-1 or visit bc.211.ca Free | Confidential | 24/7 150+ Languages

We’re In It Together

It’s time re-build our social connection muscles It can be easy to put off social connection when something “more important” comes up. When we’re feeling strapped for time, stretched thin and sapped of energy, we isolate. For many, these habits have become second nature over the last two years. “We have to remember the value of in-person interactions. Social connections are fundamental to our ability to thrive,” says Mary Morrison, Operations Manager, Mental Health and Substance Use. “Things have changed over the past two years, but they don’t need to stay this way.” We live in a world of convenience where so much is possible from the comfort of our own homes. Some of us have become accustomed to staying at home, avoiding strangers, and spending time alone or with our immediate circle. During the pandemic this was necessary. However, Morrison, like other mental health experts, wonders about the repercussions of our continued isolation when it’s no longer required. “Do we have residual anxiety about COVID, or are we adapting to being less social?” Morrison asks. Being social and building a sense of belonging helps boost mental health by lessening symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improving self-esteem, empathy and trust. “We can improve our mental health through social engagement and purposeful contributions to our communities,” says Dr. Sandra Allison, one of Island Health’s Medical Health Officers. “Getting together with a friend, volunteering or participating in a community event not only boosts your mood but also improves your overall health.”

Humans are social creatures – and connecting with others in the physical world remains fundamental for good health. “It’s time to re-build our social connection muscles,” muses Dr. Allison. In doing so, these muscles will help us strengthen our resilience, enjoy life more and even live longer. Positive mental health is about feeling good most of the time and being able to cope with everyday life. Our mental health is not binary and exists on a continuum from thriving to languishing. Life is full of ups and downs and we all respond differently to the challenges we face. Health is a journey, not a destination, and managing our mental health requires consistent actions. There is no quick way to be constantly flourishing – taking small, gradual but consistent steps towards social connection can help boost your health and wellbeing. Sometimes that includes something as simple as grabbing a coffee with a colleague.

Take action today!

• Connect in-person (when appropriate and safe) • Get involved in your neighbourhood or community • Join GenWell Weekend (May 6-8) • Move your body in ways that feel good (do this most days!) • Turn off the your device and be present • Value in-person interactions

Learn more:

• Canadian Mental Health Association: www.CMHA.ca • The GenWell Project: www.GenWellProject.org MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCE GUIDE



Did you Strategies to reduce the risk KNOW?


hile suicide isn’t easy to According to the talk about, it’s Canadian Mental important to listen. Health Association, When someone talks the most at-risk group about suicide or raises for suicide is men in concern for a loved one, it’s their 40s and 50s; important to take action men over the age of and seek help quickly, ex80 have the highest plains the Canadian Mental rate of suicide. Health Association. While women are A suicidal person is three to four times feeling so much pain that more likely to attempt they see no other option suicide than men, – they may feel they’re a men are three times burden, and in desperation more likely to die by see death as a way to essuicide than women. cape. While not all suicides Men tend to use can be prevented, some more immediately well-being strategies can lethal means and are help reduce the risk: much less likely to • Seeking treatment, care and support for reach out for help. mental health concerns, and building a good However, any relationship with a doctor or other health suicidal behaviour, professionals; whether lethal or not, • Building social support originates in suffernetworks, such as family, ing and results in friends, a peer support trauma. or support group, or Suicide is the connections with a second-most common cultural or faith comIf you or someone you cause of munity; know is in crisis now, death among • Learning good copcall 911 or your local young people. ing skills to deal with crisis line, listed on First Naproblems, and trusting tions, Inuit and in coping abilities. page 28 LGBTQ people If you’re conhave higher rates cerned about a loved one, the of suicide-related two most important things you can behaviours. do are listen and help them connect with Up to 90 per cent of mental health services, CMHA notes. people who take their Ask them directly if they’re thinking about own lives are believed suicide; they may be relieved they can talk to have substance about it. use problems or a If they’re actively suicidal, get help immemental illness such as diately – call 911 or take them to the emerdepression or anxiety gency room. – whether diagnosed Who’s at risk? or not – at the time of Known suicide risk factors include having their suicide. attempted suicide before, family history For more informaof suicidal behaviour, serious physical or tion, visit cmha.bc.ca mental illness, and problems with drugs or

Need help now?



alcohol. A major loss, such as the death of a loved one, unemployment or divorce, and major life changes, are also risk factors, as is family violence, social isolation or lack of a support network, and access to the means of suicide. However, most suicides are preventable, and few happen without warning. Major warning signs for suicide spell IS PATH WARM: I - Ideation: thinking about suicide S - Substance use: problems with drugs or alcohol P - Purposelessness: feeling like there is no purpose in life or reason for living A - Anxiety: feeling intense anxiety or feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope T - Trapped: feeling trapped or feeling like there is no way out of a situation H - Hopelessness or Helplessness: feeling no hope for the future, feeling like things will never get better W - Withdrawal: avoiding family, friends, or activities A - Anger: feeling unreasonable anger R - Recklessness: engaging in risky or harmful activities normally avoided M - Mood change: a significant change in mood Learn more about suicide at the Centre for Suicide Prevention, at suicideinfo.ca, or the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, at suicideprevention.ca

The Courtnall Society for Mental Health was founded to raise funds and awareness for mental health. With your help, and through our grants, we can improve opportunities for access and strengthen programs and initiatives of vital grassroots mental health organizations.

2021 Grant Recipients

Connections Place

Buddy Check for Jesse


Join us, together we can do more. courtnallsociety.org



We’re In It Together //Hospice Grief Caring for the caregiver

Today, more Canadians take care of friends, family members and loved ones of all ages living with a mental health concern, whether they live together at home or not. While caring for a loved one can be rewarding, it can also be tiring and stressful. And though many feel obligated to put others’ needs before their own, taking care of yourself will help you avoid burnout, isolation, depression, anxiety and other problems that may arise, explains the Canadian Mental Health Association – BC. Ongoing education, including learning about available mental health and social services in the community, can help you understand what’s going on and build realistic and hopeful expectations. You may feel you must be available all the time, but think about your needs, then work with everyone to find a solution, such as setting limits around behaviours, time spent caregiving, or expectations around the house. Recognize that while it’s natural to want to help, you can’t do everything, and building independence is an important part of recovery. Taking more time to listen to the reasons behind your loved one’s priorities can help you use your energy better. For example, if they’re focused on finding employment, putting effort into finding new treatment providers might not be the best use of your resources. Clear communication also allows everyone to discuss their thoughts or concerns respectfully. This includes active listening without distractions, being specific, focusing on one topic at a time, and being respectful and empathetic. Learn more at cmha.bc.ca and find more resources from familycaregiversbc.ca. 26


Walking together through grief and loss Grief is a natural response to signifisellors have professional training that cant loss. But unsupported, it can affect uniquely allows them to support people mental health and physical well-being. in grief, no matter how they experience Bereaved people may struggle with loss, or why. painful and intense feelings, social “In a terrible time after my sister’s isolation, and the physical effects of death, I thought no one would ever understand what was happening to me,” grief for long after the death after a says one Victoria Hospice client. “But loved one. The experience of grief has been my counsellor did. She knew the landpainfully magnified during the COVID-19 scape of traumatic loss, and she helped pandemic and the toxic drug death me find a path toward healing.” epidemic. Find support with Many deaths related to COVID-19 Victoria Hospice – whether directly or indirectly – have Victoria Hospice Bereavement Serinvolved heartbreaking circumstancvices provides specialized, indies, where families have been vidual grief counselling and unable to be at the bedside group support programs with loved ones to proSupport for to anyone in our service vide comfort and care, grieving children area, whether the loved to say goodbye, or hold one or significant funerals. And stigma Find a three-episode series person who died was surrounding the toxic covering Child and Youth a registered Victoria drug epidemic disGrief, from Victoria Hospice Hospice patient or not. tances bereaved peooffers at victoriahospice. ple from much-needed To learn more, org/podcasts/ social support. contact Victoria Hospice Grief experienced in isoBereavement Services lation – as with pandemic or at 250-519-3040, email toxic drug-related deaths – increasbereavement@victoriahospice.org or es the need for specialized support. visit online at victoriahospice.org Victoria Hospice bereavement coun-

Addiction & Mental Health THERE IS A WAY OUT

Navigating Mental Health and Addiction Care can be challenging so let us do that. Medically assessing and referring to the most appropriate treatment facility makes all the difference in addiction care. As an independent Mental Health Clinic we will assess then recommend the appropriate treatment and facility for you.


Counselling DBT PROGRAM Drug and Alcohol Monitoring and Testing


The Right Assessment Makes All The Difference

250-590-3168 | www.burnsclinical.ca


provides a supportive listening ear for people in emotional distress and connection to emergency mental health services when needed. The phone number is the same for all areas of Vancouver Island.


family support and public education, and advocating for better services for people with schizophrenia and other serious and persistent mental illness. Info: bcss.org or 1-888-8880029. COOL AID SUPPORT SERVICES Low-barrier,

HEALTHLINK BC – Free, non-emergency health

information, including mental health information. Info: Call 811 or visit healthlinkbc.ca


Health’s group-based, recovery-oriented psychosocial rehabilitation day program for individuals ages 17 to 75 living with severe and persistent mental illness. Info: 250-370-8126.

individualized supports, including system navigation, outreach and peer support, employment-related supports and volunteer opportunities, plus free health, recreation, arts and life skills programming to meet the diverse needs of people facing mental health and substance use challenges.


referral regarding community, government and social services in BC. Info: bc211.ca

REES Program, 465 Swift St., 250-595-8619 or email rees@CoolAid.org.

LEDGER HOUSE – Provides acute, inpatient,

• Dial 2-1-1 on Vancouver Island/Gulf Islands to talk with an Information & Referral Specialist. This service is free, confidential, multilingual and available 24/7. • TTY – Access for the deaf/hard of hearing community in BC is available by dialing 604-875-0885. • Text the name of your city to 2-1-1 to chat with an Information & Referral Specialist. This service is free, confidential.

Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora Ave., 250-383-0076 or email dcc@CoolAid.org.

• Call from anywhere on Vancouver Island: 1-888-494-3888 • Crisis Chat services (6 to 10pm nightly) at vicrisis.ca • Crisis Text number (6 to 10pm nightly) 1-250-800-3806 BC211 – Providing free information and

KUU-US CRISIS LINE – A resource for suicide prevention for Indigenous people on Vancouver Island and in the province of B.C. Help is available 24 hours a day. If you’re facing a crisis, call any time.

• Adult Crisis Line: 250-723-4050 • Youth Crisis Line: 250-723-2040 • Vancouver Island and through the Province of BC: 1-800-588-8717 BC ALCOHOL AND DRUG REFERRAL SERVICE – 1-800-663-1441 BC MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION INFO LINE – 1-800-661-2121, 9am to 4pm, Monday


nation-wide leader and champion for mental health promoting the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness. Info: #101- 612 View St., victoria.cmha.bc.ca or 250-216-4228.


experiencing mental health challenges by promoting individual recovery through evidence-based programs, housing, community partnerships, client and family involvement. 125 Skinner St., icmha.ca or 250-389-1211.


Services for people with mental illness, with or without substance use issues, regardless of their diagnosis, and the people who care about them.941 Kings Rd. mhrp.ca or 250-384-4225. CONNECTIONS PLACE – Employment,

education & recreation initiatives to help people diagnosed with mental illness including to Friday. Sponsored by Canadian Mental psychosis, PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, Health Association BC Division. depression, OCD and schizophrenia. 3375 Oak BC DRUG & POISON INFORMATION CENTRE St., connectionsplace.org or 250-483-3748 HOTLINE – 1-800-567-8911. ANXIETYBC – For information and community AA 24-HOUR SUPPORT LINE – resources. Info: anxietybc.com, 604-620-0744 Victoria, 250-383-7744. NA 24-HOUR SUPPORT LINE –

Victoria, 250-383-3553



8-1-1 – A free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line available in B.C., operated by HealthLink BC, part of the Ministry of Health. 28


CENTRE FOR ADHD AWARENESS, CANADA – Information and resources, tips for

working with your doctor and child’s school, information for educators, parenting strategies, support groups and more. Info: caddac.ca FAMILY CAREGIVERS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA – a registered non-profit

dedicated to helping family caregivers. Info: familycaregiversbc.ca, 250-384-0408

FOUNDRY VICTORIA – Offering young people

ages 12 to 24 health and wellness resources, services and supports – online and through integrated service centres in communities across BC, including Victoria. Info: 250-3833552 or foundrybc.ca/victoria/

hospital-based psychiatric services for Vancouver Island children and youth ages six to 16 with complex psychiatric problems. Info: islandhealth.ca/our-locations/children-youthlocations/ledger-house-children-youth-families

KELTY MENTAL HEALTH – Information, referrals and support for children, youth and their families in all areas of mental health and addictions. Info: keltymentalhealth.ca or 1-800665-1822 (toll-free in BC). FROM GRIEF TO ACTION – Not-for-profit society working to improve the lives of addicted youth and their families and friends, and a voice and a support network for families and friends affected by drug use. Info: fgta.ca BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF VICTORIA: VYPER – Victoria Youth Program for Enhanced

Recovery supportive recovery program and parenting programs, 301 - 1195 Esquimalt Rd. Info: 250-384-9133 (ext. 216), bgcvic.org


Place, providing information and skill building to help children and youth cope with anxiety. Info: saanichneighbourhoodplace.com

YOUTHSPACE.CA – Provided by NEED2 Suicide Prevention, Education and Support, this free, confidential online support network offers youth up to age 30 access to emotional support, resources and crisis response services. Info: Youthspace.ca VICTORIA YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SOCIETY (YES) – Youth detox and shelter, life skills

program, mental health liaison, counselling for sexually exploited youth and support for transitional housing. Info: 533 Yates St., 250383-3514 or vyes.ca VICTORIA YOUTH CLINIC – Youth

counselling, outreach support, vaccines and medical testing; Foundry Centre. Info: 818

Douglas St., 250-383-3552, victoriayouthclinic.ca



BOUNCEBACK – Free skill-building program from Canadian Mental

ISLAND HEALTH, DISCOVERY YOUTH & FAMILY SUBSTANCE USE SERVICES – Youth and family counselling, youth outreach services,

AT WORK VICTORIA – CMHA BC - Victoria program offering individualized assistance to find and maintain meaningful paid employment to those recovering from mental illness or addiction. Info: victoria.cmha.bc.ca or 250-216-4228.

dignity and quality of life for families and individuals, especially on the West Shore, through education, counselling and programming. Find a wide range of services for people dealing with substance use, mental health issues and day-to-day life challenges. Info: 250-478-8357, pacificcentrefamilyservices.org

prevention and early intervention, Esquimalt Health Unit, 530 Fraser St., 2nd floor. Info: 250-519-5313, Discovery.SouthIsland@viha.ca

VICTORIA NATIVE FRIENDSHIP CENTRE – Dedicated to improving the quality of life for Indigenous people in Greater Victoria, the Centre’s programs include career, education and employment resources, family service, a wellness clinic, community support, addictions counsellors and more. 231 Regina Ave. Info: 250-384-3211, vnfc.ca. SOOKE FAMILY RESOURCE SOCIETY – Youth outreach and navigator

service. Info: 105 – 2145 Townsend Rd., 250-642-5152, sfrs.ca


based organization addressing the needs of military families and medically released members and their families. Prevention, support and intervention staff offer support with deployment relationship issues, relocation, military lifestyle and short-term crisis situations, and referrals to outside counselling resources. Info: 250-363-2640, esquimaltmfrc.com

Health Association-BC to help adults and youth age 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered online or over the phone with a coach. Info: bouncebackbc.ca

LIVING LIFE TO THE FULL – Provided by CMHA – Victoria, these interactive, facilitated eight-week courses for youth, adults and seniors are based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), that improves resilience, mood, well-being, anxiety and social support. Info: victoria.cmha.bc.ca/programs-services/living-life-to-the-full L,KI,L CHILD AND YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM – Provided

by the Hulitan Family and Community Services Society, the program provides support to Indigenous children and youth up to age 19 and their families presenting a variety of mental health challenges, including complex trauma. Info: 250-384-9466 or hulitan.ca/child-andyouth-mental-health-program/

MINDFULNESS GROUPS – Provided by YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island, this is a free seven-week support group for young adults ages 18 to 30 who experience anxiety. Info: 250-386-7511 Local 413 or vancouverislandy.com/program-services/community-health



June 12, 2022 Windsor Park

Join us as we return to our in-person event on June 12 at Windsor Park.

Help us raise $60,000 for mental health services and programs on Vancouver Island.

Register and donate today at www.ridedonthide.com/victoria



We’re In It Together / Resource Guide GRIEF & LOSS HEALING HEARTS – VICTORIA – peer-

facilitated bereavement support group for people who’ve experienced a loss due to substance use disorder. Info: momsstoptheharm.com/healing-hearts-groups

VICTORIA HOSPICE – Providing end-of-

life care focused on palliative treatment and comfort for patients and support for families, including bereavement care. Info: victoriahospice.org


Supervised Consumption Centre, includes 10 consumption booths, post-use areas, rooms for counselling, medical help, naloxone kits, education and support, 941 Pandora Ave. Info: 250-519-5303 AVI HEALTH & COMMUNITY SERVICES SOCIETY – Harm-reduction services, including

overdose prevention room for safer drug use and rapid overdose response, mobile van, harmreduction supplies, overdose prevention and response training, naloxone education and more. 713 Johnson St. Info: 250-889-0268, avi.org.

JOHNSON STREET COMMUNITY – Health services, education for safer drug use, referrals to mental health counselling, links to an on-site nursing clinic, linkages to addiction treatment programs. Please note: This site is open to building residents only. Info: 250-8121764, phs.ca/project/johnson-street-community VICTORIA COOL AID SOCIETY – Providing prevention, education and counselling, harm-reduction, naloxone kits, substance use treatment, supports and access to mental health services, 535 Ellice St., 250-383-1951 ext. 2247, coolaid.org. ISLAND HEALTH – Providing health care services through a network of hospitals, clinics, centres, health units and residential care locations for more than 794,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and the mainland communities north of Powell River and south of Rivers Inlet, including mental health, substance use, addiction and overdoseprevention services. islandhealth.ca FIRST NATIONS HEALTH AUTHORITY –

Province-wide health authority whose vision is to transform the health and well-being of BC’s First Nations and Indigenous people by changing healthcare for the better through services largely focused on health promotion and disease prevention. fnha.ca, 1-866-913-0033 30


HERE TO HELP – A project of the BC Partners

for Mental Health and Substance Use Information, a group of mental health and addictions non-profit agencies that have been working together to help people live well and better prevent and manage mental health and substance use problems. Info: heretohelp.bc.ca


barrier, free treatment and support to people struggling with opiate addiction, #111-2787 Jacklin Rd., 250-940-3605 (toll-free 1-800665-2437), avi.org/westshore.

PSYCHIATRIC EMERGENCY SERVICES – Specialized mental health and addiction

services, including intensive assessment and crisis intervention for patients arriving with acute and critical psychiatric disorders. Available via Royal Jubilee Hospital emergency rooms or the 24-hr crisis line: 1-888-494-3888. ADDICTIONS OUTPATIENT TREATMENT –

Serving adults 19+ experiencing drug and alcohol problems. In Victoria, self-referral for substance use services is by attending in person at Substance Use Intake at 1119 or 1125 Pembroke St.

VICTORIA UMBRELLA SOCIETY – Providing support to individuals and loved ones, struggling with substance use issues. The society operates three recovery houses, counselling for families, outreach services and group sessions. #8 – 415 Dunedin St, umbrellasociety.ca or 250-380-0595. MOMS STOP THE HARM – A network of Canadian families impacted by substance use-related harms and deaths, advocating for drug policy changes, providing peer support to grieving families, and assisting those with loved ones who use or have used substances. Info: momsstoptheharm.com CANADIAN ARMED FORCES MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADDICTIONS TREATMENT PROGRAM – Assessment and

treatment for Armed Forces members struggling with alcohol, drugs and gambling,and other addictions. Additional mental health and stress programs also available. Info: canada.ca/en/ department-national-defence/programs/cafmental-health-services.html#atp

COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES ANAWIM COMPANIONS SOCIETY – For people living in physical, emotional, spiritual and social poverty, this private men’s residential alcohol/drug treatment program provides basic needs while encouraging personal development, plus a free drop-in day program for men and women in need. 973 Caledonia Ave., anawimhouse.com, 250-382-0283.

OASIS SOCIETY – Works with homeless and newly

housed people to create a shared and inclusive spiritual community. Integrated Recovery and Holistic Wellness Program supports Indigenous people dealing with chronic homelessness, substance abuse and mental health challenges. Nature-based retreats let people connect with others, themselves, nature and elders and in First Nations ceremonies. Room 12, 710 Cormorant St., 250-361-0036, oasisvic.org.


anyone who identifies as a man who has experienced emotional, sexual or physical trauma as a child or adult, with victim services, counselling and group programs. Info: 250381-6367 or menstherapycentre.ca.


accessible counselling to adults offered by volunteer counsellors trained and supervised by the Centre. Sliding fee scale. 941 Kings Rd., 250-384-9934, citizenscounselling.com SOUTH ISLAND CENTRE FOR COUNSELLING & TRAINING – Affordable, income-based

counselling services around a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, grief and loss, endof-life, self-esteem, abuse, and family conflict. 3821A Cedar Hill Cross Rd., 250-472-2851, southislandcentre.ca. PEERS VICTORIA RESOURCE SOCIETY –

Grassroots agency established for sex workers, by sex workers, providing an array of outreach and drop-in, harm-reduction and support services along with education and employment training for current and former sex workers. Main office hours 11am to 3pm Monday to Thursday. 1-744 Fairview Rd., 250-388-5325, safersexwork.ca

RESOURCES Recognizing Resilience: A Workbook for Parents and Caregivers of Teens Involved with Substances, keltymentalhealth.ca Toward the Heart offers information on fentanyl and naloxone: towardtheheart.com Island Health’s Discovery Youth and Family Substance Use Services: viha.ca/youthsubstance-use/discovery HealthLink BC overdose information and nurses – call 811 or visit healthlinkbc.ca Mindcheck is an online resource for youth and families offering mental health resources and support: mindcheck.ca Here to Help BC offers a Resiliency Guide for Parents and Youth: heretohelp.bc.ca Keeping Youth Connected, Healthy & Learning (for school administrators): viha.ca/ NR/rdonlyres/D37BC183-1B0E-4F0B-B9495A8870A6049F/0/keepingyouthconnected.pdf


Cedars at Cobble Hill is a residential addiction treatment center offering the serenity, hope and healing that individuals need to embark on their journey of recovery. Situated on over 65 acres of property with several kilometers of trails, our environment provides patients with privacy in a natural therapeutic setting. Cedars treats the full spectrum of substance use disorders as well as disordered eating, compulsive gambling and compulsive sexual behaviours. Our team of licensed counselors, addiction medicine physicians, nurses and support staff all play an equal part in supporting our clients and their recovery. From our accommodation to our staff we offer the most accessible patient support.

CEDAR S FAMILY PROGR AM Learn to cope with your loved one’s addiction Discovery is meant to bring positive change. Often times, we believe that we are alone in our struggles. Discovery grants families the opportunity to heal, accept, and grow both individually and as a unit. Throughout this program, participants will embark on a journey of recognition through an association with like-minded individuals. If you have a close relationship with someone who has a substance use disorder, the Discovery Program is designed to assist you with coping mechanisms to relieve the stress of addiction and related circumstances. Explore this therapeutic experience and psychoeducational program inviting you to delve into topics such as connection, communication skills, self-acceptance, and support.

A full recovery is possible - for the whole family

FOR MORE INFO CALL 250.733.2006

info@cedarscobblehill.com www.cedarscobblehill.com

discovery@cedarscobblehill.com www.cedarsdiscovery.com

Team up against ANXIETY

Confident Parents: Thriving Kids – Anxiety is a free program helping BC families overcome anxiety challenges in children ages 3–12. This web- and phone-based coaching service helps parents and caregivers learn effective skills and strategies for managing anxiety.

Learn more at