Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)

Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Not being able to go to a concert, or see your favourite sports team play in person, or go out for dinner with friends, or enjoy a warm hug are some of the many stressors that have negatively affected people’s mental health during the pandemic.

Few would disagree with Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions, that “COVID has made everything worse.”

Malcolmson was the guest speaker Tuesday during a digital “town hall” meeting hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade.

“Early in the pandemic we saw such a strong increase in demand for mental health supports. It has not slowed,” she noted.

“More and more, as people are struggling, more and more people are reaching out for help, which is good. Workplaces play such a crucial role in promoting and maintaining positive mental health because this psychological health and safety in the work place aren’t just nice to have, they’re critical for workers and for employers alike. And they’re essential to a healthy province and a thriving economy.”

Malcolmson said last week the government launched a digital “hub” for workplace mental health that will grow into an “educational platform” that will provide a “range of tools” to help address common workplace concerns like harassment, COVID-19 exposure, anxiety, and depression.

READ ALSO: New BC mental health hub is inadequate: Surrey-White Rock MLA

READ ALSO: Surrey approves new rules, fines for drug and alcohol recovery homes

READ ALSO: Attorney General covers housing, homelessness and justice reform in Surrey Zoom

She said it’s based on a program, Caring for Caregivers, that the government set up for long-term healthcare workers a year ago.

Malcolmson also noted that the overdose crisis on Wednesday will enter its sixth year of officially being declared a public health emergency in B.C. “And these crises are not siloed from each other. COVID-19 has been particularly hard on people who use drugs, and their families, and Lower Mainland communities have been the visible epicentre.”

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction, she said. The provincial government is working with the federal government to de-criminalize the possession of small amounts of controlled substances to help reduce stigma and reduce barriers that discourage people from asking for help, Malcolmson added.

“Helping remove this stigma will help save lives,” she said. “Please reach out for help if you need it.”

The minister noted the government opened an urgent response centre in Surrey – the first in B.C. – that is focused particularly on addictions and mental health.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

mental healthopioid addictionSurrey

Just Posted

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
Fraser Health adds 4 first-come-first-serve vaccination clinics to Surrey

First 1,000 people to show up to receive vaccine

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigating after man found dead in South Surrey following a wellness check

IIO says officers ‘reportedly spoke to a man at the home before departing’

Surrey RCMP in the 4900-block of 148th Street, a short road just off of King George Boulevard, on May 15, 2021 after a male was allegedly assaulted with a “pipe-like” weapon that morning. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey RCMP investigating after person reportedly injured with ‘pipe-like’ weapon

Police investigating incident in the 4900-block of 148th Street

The leadership team at Johnston Heights Secondary is looking to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society through the Relay for Life, planned as an online and in-person event (following COVID-19 restrictions) for the week of June 1 to 7.
Pushed back a year, Surrey students well on their way to Relay for Life fundraising goal

Johnston Heights Leadership Team aims to raise $6,500 for Canadian Cancer Society

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his ‘Community Connections’ videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Gwenne Farrell

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 16

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Most Read