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Canada needs a long-term free mental health support program, doctors and supporters say | Health

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As the stress and anxiety associated with pandemics continues to grow, some doctors say they need a system to address the long-term psychological effects on Canadians.

Mental health organizations across the country are launching online self-assessment tools, developing virtual consulting, and empowering crisis lines to address the growing demand for psychological support.

While applauding such efforts, Margaret Eaton, president of the Canadian Mental Health Association, said there is a need for long-term plans to provide ongoing support.

Earlier this month, Eaton raised concerns about the “echo pandemic” of mental health issues at his online address to the Parliamentary Committee on Health.

“Across the country, telephone lines are completely off-hook,” she said of the associations that now offer online telephone services in all states and Yukon.

According to an Angus Reid report released this week, half of all the people surveyed say their mental health has worsened over the past month.

Eaton said it could take up to two years for a tragedy to resume normal life, for example, strengthening existing community programs that provide cognitive behavioral therapy could be a long-term need for services. It could be one way to meet.

“What we’re seeing now is scaling up programs that can be run online and over the phone,” she said of an urgent need, with one such program being managed by an association called BounceBack with adults. He noted that he provided online support to young people, over the age of 15, dealing with mild to moderate depression, anxiety and stress. She said it recently received more funding in British Columbia and Manitoba.

“This is where the federal government wants to fill some gaps. What we’re looking at are some small states that don’t have deep pockets to invest in mental health.”

In particular, Nova Scots said they face a “total storm” of post-traumatic stress disorder. The state is recovering from the horrific shooting rampage and at the same time struggling with ongoing anxiety over COVID-19. Residents are also dealing with the recent crash of a military helicopter off the coast of Greece operating on a Halifax-based frigate. There were six crew members on board.

Eaton said the number of calls to the Nova Scotia association’s crisis line surged from an average of 25 times a day to 700 times a day after the introduction of home care measures last month.

The Nova Scotia Department of Health has launched a free service, established by the Nova Scotia Psychologists Association, to discuss the pain of a recent shooting dead of 22 people.

Mr Eaton said federal support would be needed for long-term mental health care for those who could not even grieve together due to rally restrictions and could suffer mentally for years.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has announced an online resource called Wellness Together Canada. It contains a self-assessment tool to assess the level of distress. It provides videos about mindfulness and a limited number of live phone sessions, and peer support from front-line workers and other professionals.

The government has also strengthened funding for three crisis lines, including those dedicated to young people and indigenous peoples.

What sets cognitive behavioral therapy and community programs apart from these initiatives is that they can provide people with ongoing coping strategies for specific problems related to anxiety and depression. Second World War.

According to Eaton, community members suffering from a forest fire and other disasters in May 2016 in Fort McMurray, Massachusetts, need ongoing support and long-term resources.

One study at the University of Alberta, published in the Frontiers Journal of Psychiatry, surveyed 3,252 students a year and a half after the fire and grades 7-12. 37% showed signs of PTSD and about 30% were likely to have depression.

Fort McMurray’s Rebecca Canning said the pandemic caused some of the trauma she endured after she escaped a wildfire in a community with her husband Brent and her three sons.

“It took us two years to be able to talk about it,” Canning said, nearly 90,000 people had evacuated and reduced 2,400 homes and buildings to rubble. .

“We passed the fires on both sides of us,” she remembered. “Everything was on fire.”

Her main concern was her oldest son, Dylan, who had already dealt with severe anxiety and panic disorder and whose grandfather “his best friend” died of colon cancer two weeks ago.

“For the first few weeks, he cried to sleep every night, especially when we thought our house was gone,” said Canning.

Dylan is supported by pediatricians and school counselors, and is getting more help. Canning said he learned to manage anxiety through cognitive behavioral therapy-cognitive behavioral therapy-teaching clients how to turn their thoughts and attitudes into emotions that cause difficulty-after meeting therapists and psychologists Mindfulness.

But because she and her husband are from Nova Scotia, she comes from her husband and Nova Scotia, so her her husband came from Nova Scotia, so she added to her pandemic-related anxiety. Was

“In one of the areas where the shooting took place, I have a family there, and my brain feels completely overdriven,” she said. “Your body is just holding the trauma.”

The trauma associated with pandemics is expected to last for many years, so doctors at the Addiction and Mental Health Center say there is an urgent need for a model that provides free and readily accessible mental health care to Canadians.

Dr. Paul Cardiac, a psychiatrist at the Addiction and Mental Health Center in Toronto, said more public funding is needed because most people cannot afford the high cost of treatment. It was

Kurdyak is the lead author of a study co-authored by the Institute for Clinical Evaluation Science and was published in the online journal CMAJ Open last month. Out of nearly 13,000 primary care physicians in Ontario, only 3.2% provided publicly funded psychotherapy between 2015 and 2016.

The results of a two and a half year pilot project by CAMH in Ontario and three other mental hospitals, based on a program to improve access to psychotherapy introduced in the UK in 2008, show how mental health services can be delivered. I said it could change.

“We are currently looking for ways to extend the (project) across the state, hoping to be able to deliver the same kind of results to claim the rest of the country. Yes, ”said Kurdiak. Healthcare is a local jurisdiction.

A program funded by the UK’s National Health Service involves training college students to care for people suffering from anxiety disorders and depression, with patients showing a 50% recovery rate, Kurdiak said .

Dr. Juveria Zaheel, a psychiatrist in the Emergency Department of Addiction and Mental Health Center and co-author of the CMAJ Open Study, said that pandemic-related isolation and unemployment were so widespread that online resources and I mentioned that there are options that go beyond the traditional route. It is necessary to get a referral from a doctor for mental health treatment.

“What I’m seeing in the emergency department right now is the growing need for health care services for very vulnerable Canadians, such as precarious people, young people, and the elderly.”

Zaheer said the 2003 SARS pandemic experience, where Toronto was the epicenter of Canada’s crisis, showed that health care providers were initially well but suffered mental health distress two years later. I will.

This report by Canadian Press was first published on May 2, 2020.

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