Caring for your mental health this holiday season more important than ever

THIS holiday season will be unlike any other for most of us, says the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

Gatherings will be smaller and being alone can feel especially glaring following 10 months of physical distancing and social disconnection.

That is why it is more important than ever to ensure that mental health is at the top of your holiday list. If you need support during the holidays, or any time of the year, reach out. It is OK not to be OK and help is available.

Mental-health supports for everyone:

* Province of B.C. mental-health supports page:

* B.C. COVID-19 mental health self-assessment tool – mental-health screening tests with a COVID-19 self-assessment tool:

* BounceBack – free online, video and phone-based skills-building program for seniors, adults and youth who are experiencing low moods, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry:

* Counselling and mental-health services – a variety of mental-health services, including low- or no-cost community counselling programs:

* Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre – confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide. Call 1 800 SUICIDE (784-2433) or visit:

* First Nations Health Authority – comprehensive mental-health and cultural supports during COVID-19:

* The KUU-US Crisis Response Service: 24-7, culturally aware, crisis support to Indigenous people in British Columbia. Call 1 800 588-8717 or visit:

* Crisis services by region – a list of crisis supports and services by region. Find help near you:

Mental-health supports for youth, young adults and families:

* Foundry Virtual – provincewide virtual services with counselling, peer support, family support, groups and workshops via chat, voice or video calls for young people aged 12-24 and their caregivers. All services are free and confidential. Call 1 833 FOUNDRY (308-6379) or visit:

* Here2Talk – confidential, free counselling and referral services by app, phone or online chat for all registered post-secondary students, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1 877 857-3397, or 1 604 642-5212 if you are a student calling from outside of Canada (international calling charges may apply).

* Ministry of Children and Family Development – the Ministry of Children and Family Development supports all children, youth and families in British Columbia to live safe and healthy lives and is responsible for providing programs and services to support child and youth mental health. A list of supports can be found at:

* Kids Help Phone – 24-7, immediate counselling, support, information and referrals. Youth can call 1 800 668-6868 or text TALK to 686868. Texting support for adults is available by texting TALK to 741741. Or visit:

* Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre – free mental-health and substance use information, resources and peer support for B.C. parents, caregivers and families of children and youth. Call 1 800 665-1822 or visit:

Supports for seniors:

* BC211 – this service will take calls from seniors looking for help and those who would like to volunteer to help seniors in their community, including virtual or telephone visits:

Support for front-line health-care workers:

* Virtual peer support service and online resource hub – phone and text-based peer-support service:

Here are four other ways to support your mental health over the next several weeks:

1. Reach out. Though meeting in large groups will not be in the holiday cards this year, connecting with others safely is vital to your mental wellness. Consider making the holidays special by reaching out to someone who is isolated and alone – you may be surprised at how much joy it brings to both of you.

2. Talk about it. You are not alone. This year has been hard on so many people. But talking about it really does help. And sharing how you are feeling not only benefits you, but it often encourages others to do the same and creates a sense of community. What better gift is there than that?

3. Keep up with routines. Try to maintain habits that support your positive well-being during the holidays. Eat well when you can, commit to regular physical activity and get plenty of sleep when possible.

4. Try to take a moment for yourself. Prioritize yourself during the holidays by doing things you love and that make you feel calm and connected to what matters to you. These are busy, stressful times, but just 15 minutes of downtime a day will go a long way toward ensuring the holidays really are peaceful and calm.

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  1. Thank you for including all these resources.

    For youth aged 15-25 seeking trauma informed counselling, Dan’s Legacy offers no barrier services. We go directly to the client wherever they are, we do not have a wait list and our services are free.

    More info and direct contact information here:

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