A new online initiative is looking to tackle the worsening state of people’s mental health and the unaffordability of treating it.
Peer Services Calendar provides free online programming that focuses on a different aspect of mental health each day. Welcome Mondays are devoted to meeting the members of the peer team and learning about mental health recovery. On Inspiration Fridays, people can listen to a guest speaker talk about how they overcame adversity. Other programs include Exploring Wellness, Hope and Recovery Group, Community Connection Day and Next Steps.
“Many people with mental illness don’t know where to even start to get help,” Hazel Meredith, executive director of Mental Health Recovery Partners (MHRP) South Island, said. MHRP was able to launch the platform with a grant provided by United Way Greater Victoria (UWGV).
“The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the mental health crisis in our community,” Mark Breslauer, CEO of UWGV, said.
In a province-wide survey released in December, 46 per cent of Islanders reported worsening mental health as a result of the pandemic. Younger populations were especially hard hit with 54 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 29, 53 per cent of people aged 30 to 39, and 50 per cent of people aged 40 to 49 experiencing deteriorating mental health.
“Our goal is to provide easy access to people with mental illness to peer support and outreach to ensure early intervention, relapse prevention and to build connection and well being,” Meredith said of the Peer Services Calendar.
She said MHRP has a wait list of 48 people who are in need of extra personal peer support, clinical consultation and advocacy. The hope is that the new online programming will help to reduce that wait list and provide support to people while they wait.
The Peer Services Calendar can be found at mhrp.ca/events.
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