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

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

A recent study by the British Columbia Nurses Union and the UBC School of Nursing found that 40 percent of the province’s nurses struggle with major depression. The study also found that 60 percent of nurses showed signs of burnout as a result of the pandemic: “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 ( BCNU).

“Forty percent of Canadians have deteriorating mental health,” said UBC researcher Emily Jenkins.

Jenkins highlights the cumulative effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of Canadians.

“We already had a fifth who had a mental disorder,” said Jenkins.

A recent study commissioned by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in collaboration with the University of British Columbia now shows that these numbers are increasing across the country.

38 percent of Canadians say they are under stress, another 25 percent are sad, 24 percent admit they have depression, and 48 percent say they have high levels of anxiety and worry.

“Over time, we are concerned that they move from this type of preclinical stressor or worry or anxiety to something more clinically relevant like a diagnosable mental disorder,” said Jenkins.

Nowhere is this threat more real than on the front line of COVID-19 with the provincial health workers.

“The number of cases of COVID that occur in the workplace, the number of deaths in long-term care facilities and acute care intensive care units, place a significant strain on nurses’ mental health,” Sorensen said.

“That way we can show our appreciation for the support our mental health colleagues have given us,” said Sorensen.

The BCNU also hopes the public will support them by joining and supporting the Canadian Mental Health Association as well.

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

According to the BCNU, the donations will go towards two CMHA mental health support programs.
One of them is Living Life to the Full, a cognitive behavioral therapy program that helps people deal with everyday challenges, and Care for Caregivers, which is specially designed for healthcare workers. “Care for Caregivers is an online hub with many options of very valuable educational resources for health care professionals at the forefront of the sector to help them cope better with anxiety, worry and stress,” said Jonny Morris, CEO of BC- Department of the CMHA.

CMHA also has a confidential, peer support hotline program called Care to Speak, which allows healthcare professionals to speak directly to someone who has worked in the healthcare industry on anything at 1-866-802-7337 (PEER).

To contribute to the BCNU’s efforts to raise funds for mental health support, go online at vancouverfoundation.ca

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