MENTAL health supports are available for people who have been and continue to be adversely affected by historic wildfires throughout B.C. this summer.
The Province, health authorities and other agencies are working to support people and connect them to vital mental health services during this incredibly difficult time. Many of those impacted are First Nations and Indigenous communities, who face additional stress and trauma due to historic displacements from their lands and homes.
Disaster Psychological Support team members are currently deployed through the Provincial Health Services Authority’s Health Emergency Management BC program to reception centres in the Interior. Team members are providing psychosocial support in the form of Psychological First Aid, which is a holistic, community wellness approach to help reduce levels of emotional distress for individuals, families, responders and communities.
Additionally, First Nations Health Authority staff continue to attend evacuee reception centres to support First Nations evacuees in accessing mental wellness counselling services and traditional wellness resources and to provide a culturally safe contact for bridging to needed health-care resources.
In the Interior region, First Nations, Métis or Inuit people – including health-care and front-line care providers – are also encouraged to contact a member of the Aboriginal Mental Wellness Team who can support local mental health priorities at: aborginalmentalwellness@
Anyone can call the BC Mental Health Support Line for free, around the clock, at 310-6789 for help with anxiety, depression, emotional support and resources specific to mental health and substance-use disorders. Access to substance-use services (harm reduction supplies, overdose prevention services, naloxone, treatment options, such as opioid agonist treatment, safe supply and counselling) is available and can be co-ordinated through this number.
More than 15,000 people remain under an evacuation order, with thousands more on alert around the province, causing significant hardship and anxiety for many evacuees and emergency responders.
* Visit: https://wellbeing.gov.bc.ca/ or call 310-MHSU (no area code required) to find support for you or loved ones.
* For free counselling services (available around the clock) with a professional counsellor from Wellness Together Canada, call 1 866 585-0445 (adults) or 1 888 668-6810 (youth).
* For the Wellness helpline for Indigenous people, call 1 855 242-3310.
* For additional mental health and substance use information: https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/
* For peer support is available for health-care workers, text or call: 1 866 802-7337.
* Virtual low- and no-cost mental health supports are online, including low- and no-cost counselling services:
* Care for Caregivers, a peer-based phone, text and webchat service providing free and confidential support to health and social support workers in B.C.: https://careforcaregivers.ca/