The holidays can be a fun and joyful time for families, but they can also add to stress levels, affect depression and be challenging for people with mental health or substance use issues.
Even for children and youth, the break from regular schedules and hubbub around gifts, family time, staying up late and excitement about a visit from Santa can also lead to feelings of anxiety, sadness and even loneliness over the holidays.
There are a variety of mental health and substance use services and supports available throughout the province for adults, youth and children. These supports offer easy access to caring, professional help and the people on the other end of the phone are always ready to listen.
Adults struggling with depression or anxiety can feel overwhelmed with family gatherings, buying gifts and making sure their children’s holiday is special and memorable.[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]Sooke support programs
- Sooke Crisis & Referral Centre Directs funds for Sooke residents in need – emergency services – food, referrals, finding housing & coordinating school supplies. 2043 Church Road, Mon-Fri, 10am-1pm 250-642-0215
- Sooke Transition House Society Counselling and outreach services, Stopping the Violence, Children Who Witness Abuse programs. Transition House: 250-642-2591 Program Office: 250-642-2544 Counsellor: 250-642-2543 Emergency pager: 250 480-5461
- Vancouver Island Crisis Line For people in emotional crisis, including suicide and mental health issues. 1-888-494-3888 Suicide Line: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) Crisis Chat for all ages is offered from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Pacific Time, 7 days a week. www.vicrisis.ca and click on the Chat Now icon.
- NEED2 Suicide and Prevention Education Support for youth as well as web-based emotional support at www.youthspace.ca, open 6pm to midnight
- Sooke Family Resource Society, 105-2145 Townsend Road, 250-642-5152, email email@example.com, online www.sfrs.ca
BC-wide supports for adults
- Mental Health and Substance Use Information: Heretohelp.bc.ca is a provincial mental health and substance use website providing information about managing mental illness and maintaining good mental health, including self-management resources and screening self-tests for wellness, mood, anxiety and risky drinking.
- Substance Use Services: A network of direct and contracted services for individuals suffering from substance use problems, including counselling, needle exchanges, opiate replacement therapy, withdrawal management and prevention programs for youth. Phone toll-free: 1 866 658-1221.
- The Alcohol & Drug Information and Referral Service: Find resources, support and referral information for treatment and counsellors across the province. Phone toll-free: 1 800 663-1441 or 604 660-9382 (Greater Vancouver).
- HealthLink BC: 24-hour, confidential health information and advice. Phone: 8-1-1, or visit: www.healthlinkbc.ca
- Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre: Confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide. Phone: 604 872-3311 (Greater Vancouver) or toll-free 1 800 SUICIDE (784-2433).
- Bounce Back: an evidence-based program designed to help adults experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood, or stress, with or without anxiety. Phone toll free 1 866 639-0522, or visit: www.cmha.bc.ca/how-we-can-help/adults/bounceback
BC-wide supports for children and youth[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]Throughout the year, thousands of B.C. children and youth receive the FRIENDS Program in their classrooms. FRIENDS is a school-based resiliency program that teaches kids how to identify and manage stress and worries, while promoting self-esteem and positive relationships. FRIENDS plays an important role in ensuring that B.C. kids have the life skills and resources they need to cope with difficult situations and challenges they may face throughout the year, including during the holidays. To find out more about the FRIENDS Program in B.C., visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/mental_health/friends.htm
Additional supports for children and youth include:
- Kids Help Phone: Immediate and caring support, information and, if necessary, referral to a local community or social service agency. Phone toll-free: 1 800 668-6868.
- Youth in B.C. Distress Line: 24-hour distress line staffed by counsellors and trained volunteers who are committed to helping youths in crisis. Phone: 604 872-3311.
- Online services map: Interactive map listing approximately 350 mental health and substance use services for children and youth throughout the province. View the map: http://ow.ly/VFSrT.
For more information on supports specific to your region, visit VIHA Mental Health Services.
Make mental health your personal priority this holiday, and ask for help and support from family, friends and community service agencies if you find yourself feeling less than merry this holiday season.