Opinion: Protests are taking a toll on the mental health of BC care providers

Sep 20 2021, 5:21 pm

Healthcare workers have been stretched beyond the limits in the past two years, and new protest movements affecting their day-to-day are adding to that stress.

A letter on Monday, September 20, was co-written by Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and officials from the Canadian Mental Health Association and SafeCare BC, and it highlights their concerns about the well-being of healthcare providers.

“It is not acceptable to interrupt vital, life-saving services to exercise the right to protest, and it’s taking a toll on care providers’ mental health,” they say.

“Over the past 18 months, care workers have worried about bringing COVID-19 into their workplace or bringing it home to their own families. On top of these pressures, care providers are now experiencing fear and intimidation at their worksites.”

The letter points out that not only is BC in the midst of COVID-19 but we also have a drug poisoning crisis that’s ongoing. Recent events like the heat waves and the “confirmation of unmarked graves at former Indian Residential School sites” have also added to the current situation.

They say that our healthcare workers need more support to help keep them well and they’re sharing resources to specifically support their needs.

“People in caring professions often put their own needs ahead of others. We want frontline providers to know that caring for your own mental health is vital for your family, friends and patients. It takes strength to reach out and seek help.”

There are resources available to help care providers and you can share them with someone you know.

The province and its partners launched two free support programs for healthcare workers. Care for Caregivers connects healthcare providers with mental health support that’s targeted at them. There’s also Care to Speak, free peer support for BC healthcare workers.

“All levels of government, community agencies, partners and the public must continue to support our care providers’ mental and physical well-being,” they say.

“We owe a huge debt of thanks to our care providers for showing up every day to take care of others.”

Daily Hive StaffDaily Hive Staff

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