LETTER: Free ‘psychological first aid’ for people experiencing stress, anxiety or uncertainty

Editor:

In partnership with UBC’s Okanagan campus, the BC Psychological Association (BCPA) and the province, all British Columbians can now access free psychological first aid.

The service which originally launched for front-line health care workers, will now provide telephone-based support to any BC resident experiencing stress, anxiety or uncertainty related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Residents seeking assistance can accesb2s the service by filling out a short online form on the BCPA website (www.psychologists.bc.ca/covid-19-resources) or by calling 604-827-0847. They will then be contacted from one of 200 volunteer registered psychologists within 24 to 48 hours.

What is psychological first aid?

Psychological First Aid is a brief (up to 30 minute) telephone consultation to provide you with information and strategies to help you cope with the stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is designed to help people who usually cope with daily life pretty well, but who might be feeling overwhelmed during this very stressful time. A Psychological First Aid call is similar to speaking with a doctor or nurse after you have a physical injury. It is a practical tool for you to use.

Is psychological first aid the same as therapy?

Psychological First Aid is not the same as psychological therapy. The psychologist who calls you will not become your on-going care provider and you will not be treated for mental health concerns.

Is the Psychological Support Service a Crisis Line?

No, the psychological support service is not the same as a crisis line. If you are in crisis, please go to https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/ or call 1-800-784-2433. If your crisis is an emergency, call 911.

How many times can I use this service?

You can use the service as many times as you like. If you would like to receive a Psychological First Aid phone call again, simply fill out another online request form on the day that you would like service.

Marianne Brueckert, Victim Services Program Manager Hope/Boston Bar Community Policing Office RCMP

mental health

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