Expand access to mental health supports for health and social service workers

Community health and social service workers across British Columbia will be able to access more mental health supports as the province expands programs tailored to the sector.

The Government of British Columbia has invested $735,000 to expand Care to Speak and Care for Caregivers, two unique programs that provide online peer support and targeted mental health educational resources for health care workers and caregivers. community social services. Since 2020, the two services have reached more than 76,000 workers.

“We have never asked more of our health care workers as British Columbia continues to battle two public health emergencies,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our government is expanding mental health support services by phone, text and virtual chat for those working in health care and social services so that the people British Columbians rely on can continue to help others.

Through this investment, the Care to Speak service will be able to increase the availability and means for healthcare workers in long-term and continuing care to connect with peers who have experience in the sector and who have been trained in active listening and can provide mental health supports. Workers can also visit the Care for Caregivers website to access timely and personalized educational resources, including workshops for those working in healthcare.

“Many community health and social service workers have experienced distress, anxiety, grief, depression and trauma when responding to COVID-19 and poison drug emergencies” , said Jonny Morris, CEO of the British Columbia Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association. “Care to Speak provides free and confidential emotional support to those who benefit from it, and provides a bridge to other services such as the Provincial Mobile Response Team. If you are a caregiver, ask for help. If you know someone who is, share this resource and show you care.

Care to Speak is available Monday to Friday from 5pm to 9pm, with additional hours Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 2pm

Improving mental health supports is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, BC’s roadmap to build the comprehensive mental health and addictions care system that British Columbians deserve.


Saleema Dhalla, CEO, SafeCare BC Health and Safety Association –

“Healthcare workers across British Columbia have taken care of us during the pandemic. They work in a difficult and stressful environment. We owe it to them not only to ensure their physical safety, but also their psychological well-being. We know that Care for Caregivers and Care to Speak fills an important need for healthcare workers, and we are happy to see this critically important service continue.

Dr. Yuet Ting Ma, PharmD, RPh, pair Care to Speak –

“As a health care provider working in the field of mental health and addictions, I believe that Care to Speak is a great resource for health and social support workers to seek support from their peers. . This pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone’s mental health, especially for healthcare providers. I am truly honored to participate in this program as a volunteer and to provide support to others on their mental health journey.

Monika Salgado, peer of Care to Speak –

“While there are other crisis lines available, the Care to Speak program was created to provide support to people who work in the health and social care sector. With my mum and sister working as nurses and myself in social services, I never thought about how carers needed help too until I discovered Care to Speak. Being a peer support volunteer has impacted my life in so many positive ways. I gained a new level of confidence and it taught me to be more compassionate towards others. I appreciate the new skills I have learned since I started volunteering and the best part is being able to make a difference in our communities.

Learn more:

Discover A Pathway to Hope, the provincial government’s vision for mental health and addictions care in British Columbia: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0049-001787

Care for Caregivers and Care to Speak: https://www.careforcaregivers.ca/
The toll-free peer support number: 1 866 802-7337 (PEER)

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