Patricia Rahanan, a researcher from Concordia University, has started work on a study that will look at a number of factors surrounding mental health in Shuswap communities. (File photo)

Shuswap mental health study: Grocery stores a destination for people in need of connection

Ongoing interviews provide useful insight to suicide prevention efforts

In times of distress, people will seek out comfort in sometimes unexpected locations.

Concordia University researcher Patricia Ranahan is nearing the halfway point in her six month-long community-focused suicide prevention study in the Shuswap.

The project, which looks at factors surrounding mental health in the region’s communities is being conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

Read more: Salmon Arm chosen for suicide prevention study

Read more: Salmon Arm Minor Hockey takes initiative on mental health

So far Ranahan has interviewed 14 people from in and around Salmon Arm, and has another week of interviews to go. In the study’s early stages, Ranahan said there were preliminary findings she did not expect.

During the interviews, Ranahan said people spoke about various places in the community they would go to seek out people to talk to and comfort. These places included the library, some church spaces and even certain grocery stores.

Ranahan said people would go to these places because they knew they had the ability to connect with others there, or it was a place where they could be safe.

“Often we only think of mental health care happening with mental health clinicians at the Interior Health Authority,” Ranahan said. “But there’s also these different spaces within the community that people identified that really helped them.”

Read more: Mental health first aid course offered by CMHA at Salmon Arm Okanagan College campus

Read more: In photos: Lunch launch to Ride Don’t Hide

Ranahan has also found there are several places that have been conducive to opening conversations about suicide. These include worksite wellness workshops, CMHA sanctioned workshops and the lantern walk.

The study has also looked at the impact of providing mental-health support. Even if the conversations are a part of a caregiver’s work life, Ranahan says it can still have an impact on them.

“We also have to recognize these are difficult conversations and it’s difficult, absolutely, for the person in distress. But it’s also very difficult for the person that is trying to help,” Ranahan said.

Read more: Salmon Arm RCMP found justified in using garden hose during rooftop standoff

Read more: Telus invests in North Okanagan youth’s mental health

Ranahan hopes in the next round of interviews to speak with parents of teens, men who work out of town for long periods of time and members within the church community.

If you wish to be included in the study, you can contact Patricia Ranahan at patti.ranahan@concordia.ca.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shuswap caregiver a hero in husband’s eyes

Night and day shifts leave little time for Tracy and Rick Duncan

City of Enderby issues flood caution reminder

Rain in Sunday weather forecast could increase water levels and flow

Rain in Sunday forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada calling for 15-20 millimetres in regions

Salmon Arm man reported missing by RCMP has been found unharmed

Ken Derkach apologizes for having caused anyone concern

Preparations for flooding in the Shuswap accelerate

A sandbagging machine and a crew to run it have been set up in Silver Creek.

Kelowna residents to hold peaceful rally in solidarity with BLM movement

The rally will be held at Stuart Park in Kelowna at 12 p.m. on June 5

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

High water floods North Okanagan park

Water rushing through Hanson Park in Cherryville

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Most Read