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EDITORIAL: Keep your head above water - take care of your mental health

The trauma and stress of what the community is experiencing can hit like a tsunami

We in Princeton need so much help.

And in large parts we are getting it, as volunteers continue to do wellness checks at every doorstep, ensuring everyone has the basic necessities for survival.

Food, clean drinking water, heat - those requirements are being met.

But that’s only half the story.

The trauma and stress of what the community experienced in the flood of 2021 can hit like a tsunami of its very own.

People are scared, uncertain of the future. They are worried for their families and themselves. Some are suddenly staring into a future that involves catastrophic financial loss. Others have been unable to get to urgent medical appointments in other centres – a worrisome situation.

Mental health is as important as physical health, and in some cases perhaps more so, as one feeds the other and it’s invisible.

Princeton, like many other rural places in B.C., is under-served by mental health practitioners. The need for counselling and assistance has long been great, and the resources lacking.

So, there is not the firmest of foundations.

But there is help for people who need to prioritize their “alrightness’ by metrics that don’t include whether or not you have electricity or natural gas.

Be honest. If a friend asks how you are doing, it’s okay to drop the brave face and say ‘AWFUL, THANK YOU.’

Sometimes just talking your feelings through, with a person you trust, can be soothing.

Of course that is just sometimes. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed or frightened, and you’ve no where else to turn, there are people you can call.

Start with the Interior Health crisis line at 1-888-353-2273. Other numbers to call are the Provincial Suicide Line 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-SUICIDE and the National Suicide Line at 1-833-456-4566.

They are, not surprisingly, experiencing higher than normal call volumes at the moment, so be patient and keep trying.

Do what it takes to keep your head above water, where it belongs.

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Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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