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B.C. Nurses Union donates money for mental health support programs

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A recent study by the British Columbia Nurses Union and the UBC School of Nursing, found that 40 percent of the province’s nurses are struggling with severe depression.The study also revealed that as a result of the pandemic, 60 percent of nurses are showing signs of burnout.“We know 85 percent of our nurses are seriously concerned about bringing this virus home,” said Christine Sorensen, president of the British Columbia Nurses Union, or BCNU.

Read more: B.C. nurses face increasing stress during COVID-19 pandemic: survey

“Forty percent of Canadians are having a mental health deterioration,” said UBC researcher Emily Jenkins.

Jenkins stresses the cumulative impact that COVID-19 has had on the mental health of Canadians.

“We already had one in five who was experiencing a mental health disorder,” Jenkins said.

Now, a recent study commissioned by the Canadian Mental Health Association or CMHA in conjunction with the University of British Columbia shows those numbers are growing across the country.

 
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Thirty-eight per cent of Canadians say they are under stress, another 25 per cent have feelings of sadness, 24 per cent admit to experiencing depression and 48 per cent say they are dealing with high levels of anxiety and worry.

“Over time, what we are concerned about is them moving from that kind of preclinical stressor or worry or feeling of anxiety and through to something more clinically relevant, such as a diagnosable mental health disorder,” Jenkins explained.

Nowhere is that threat more real than on the front lines of COVID-19 with the province’s health care workers.

“The number of cases of COVID that are coming into the workplace, the numbers of deaths in long-term care facilities and in acute care ICU units, is really placing a toll on nurses’ mental health,” Sorensen said.

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“This is one way we can show our appreciation for the support that our colleagues who work in mental health provide us,” Sorensen said.

The BCNU is also hoping that the public will support them, by joining in and giving to the Canadian Mental Health Association as well.

“The public has been asking how they can best show their support to nurses and we felt this was the best way they can support us,”  Sorensen added.

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According to the BCNU, the donations will go towards two CMHA mental health support programs.

Read more: B.C. nurse who recovered from COVID-19 warns health-care workers about returning to work too soon

One of those is Living Life to the Full, a cognitive behavioural therapy program that helps people deal with everyday challenges, as well as Care for Caregivers, which is designed specifically for health care workers.“Care for Caregivers is an online hub which has lots of very valuable training resources for frontline healthcare workers in the sector to help them better cope with anxiety, worry, stress,” said Jonny Morris, CEO of the CMHA’s BC division.
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CMHA also has a confidential peer support hotline program called ‘Care to Speak’ in which frontline health care workers, can talk directly to someone who has worked in the health care industry about anything at 1-866-802-7337 (PEER).

If you would like to contribute to the BCNU’s effort to fundraise for mental health support, you can go online to vancouverfoundation.ca