Canadian Mental Health Association see increase in calls in Kelowna due to COVID-19

Mental health struggles rise

Sarita Patel

The Canadian Mental Health Association of Kelowna says they’ve noticed residents have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as illustrated by an increase in need for services.

Jessica Samuels, associate director of community engagement at Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna says calls for service are up and those requests are more severe. 

“There’s a higher need for help, people are calling for themselves and they’re calling for their loved ones.”

Not only is the global crisis affecting mental health, with the excitement of the holidays over, shorter days and lack of sunlight, January is a tough month for most. 

“There are some foundational things that we can all do,” she adds. “Get outside when you can, it may mean that you have to bundle up but light does make a difference.”

If you are someone who struggles with the seasonal affective disorder - there is light therapy, which is a special light that helps to impact your mood.

Samuels recommends people should routinely do a mental health check-in with yourself to ensure your foundational elements are aligned. 

“Am I eating as I should, am I sleeping as I should, how is my mood, am I feeling like I can’t get excited or am I not connecting with friends and family like I should?”

CMHA has a checklist of questions you can use as a template to use daily, weekly or even monthly.

“If these things are happening and happening for a longer period of time then there’s normal for you, I would say about two-weeks then it’s time for you to reach out.”

She emphasizes that if you’re having mental health struggles, you should reach out for help via CMHA or a doctor.

“Right now people may feel like they shouldn’t reach out because everybody is struggling … it is so important to continue to reach out.”

The community is also being encouraged to check on each other.

“Check-in with somebody who seems to maybe not quite be themselves, check-in with somebody you haven’t heard from in a while, check-in with your neighbour if you know that they’re alone and that they don’t have family in town.”

If you need assistance you can call CMHA at (250) 861-3644 or check out its website for more information.

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