(File photo)

Column: Pandemic highlights importance of mental health care and attention

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

What is a mental health crisis?

It’s a term that seems to come up a lot more nowadays with COVID-19 and all. I’d heard it prior to the pandemic and built up an understanding of what it means, and what one might look like, based on a mix of anecdotes and assumptions.

Multiple websites involved with mental-health services appear to define a mental health crisis as “any situation in which a person’s behaviour puts them at risk of hurting themselves or others, and/or prevents them from being able to care for themselves or function effectively in the community.”

While I don’t doubt the accuracy of this definition, I suspect this to be a case where words are easier to recognize and comprehend than the actual experience – even when we’re the ones experiencing it.

Prompting this train of thought was a recent report from the Salmon Arm RCMP stating officers were called to assist with multiple mental health-related calls over the May long weekend. In the same report, the staff sergeant stressed local police are frequently being called to assist those experiencing a mental-health crisis.

The same has been reported across the country, as has a surge in demand for mental health services.

Read more: Salmon Arm RCMP receive numerous calls for people experiencing mental health crisis

Read more: ‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the most common warning signs of a crisis include an inability to perform daily tasks, rapid mood swings, increased agitation, risk taking/out-of-control behaviour, paranoia, loss of touch with reality and abusive behaviour to self or someone else.

The Canadian Mental Health Association has been monitoring the mental health-impact the pandemic is having. A recent CMHA survey indicates 40 per cent of Canadians are feeling anxious or worried, 34 per cent are stressed and 31 per cent lonely or isolated.

Forty-one per cent said their mental health has deteriorated since the onset of the pandemic.

To address the need for mental health care in Canada, the CMHA has been advocating for a mental health care system funded to meet the needs of Canadians, prioritizing physical, mental and emotional safety and well-being in the workplace and at home, and working to eliminate causes of distress including chronic homelessness and poverty.

It is said there are many people in B.C. who live a paycheque away from being without a place to live.

I wonder if this in some way parallels how close those experiencing one or more of the warning signs listed above are from the point of crisis?

One upside of the pandemic, I suppose, is that it has shown our mental health is just as important as our physical health, and equally deserving of our care and attention.


lachlan@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


mental health

Just Posted

A concept rendering of the proposed seven-unit, two-storey development at 1129 Riverside Ave. in Sicamous. (District of Sicamous graphic)
Proposed luxury development in Sicamous sparks parking concerns

Seven-unit commercial-residential building planned for Riverside Avenue

Shuswap Litas and Sons of Stomp head out from uptown Askew’s parking lot on Thursday, June 10, some with teddy bears and stuffies, to ride to Pierre’s Point by Adams Lake community hall to show their support for band members in the wake of the confirmation of 215 children buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap bike clubs ride to support Indigenous communities

Motorcyclists go to Pierre’s Point in solidarity with bands in wake of residential school findings

The Shaw Centre and the SASCU Recreation Centre are the two largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions on City of Salmon Arm properties. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
City of Salmon staff surprised COVID not cause of drop in greenhouse gas emissions

2020 sees emissions on city-owned properties decrease well below 2019 totals

Interior Health is offering mobile vaccination clinics for the first dose only of COVID-19 vaccine in the Shuswap from June 15 to June 19h. (Interior Health image)
First-dose vaccinations for COVID-19 offered via mobile clinics in Shuswap

Clinic in Salmon Arm scheduled for June 15, other clinics in Sorrento, Malakwa, Chase

The price per litre of regular gasoline was at 145.9 cents at several gas stations in downtown Salmon Arm on June 11, 2021. (Zachary Roman - Salmon Arm Observer)
Gas prices pumped up in Salmon Arm and Sicamous

Price spikes from 131.9 to as high as 145.9 cents per litre

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a summary of this week’s biggest stories from the Okanagan-Shuswap

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Police identify South Okanagan homicide victim as 57-year-old Naramata woman

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Most Read