We’re in it together: Mental health in Greater Victoria

Resource guide explores mental illness, local resources and how you can help

The Greater Victoria Mental Health Guide is published by Black Press Media’s Victoria News and Monday Magazine.

The Greater Victoria Mental Health Guide is published by Black Press Media’s Victoria News and Monday Magazine.

Few issues are as far-reaching as mental health.

Consider that one in four people will experience mental health challenges in their lifetimes. That in 2016, Victoria was one of three Canadian cities with the highest number of suicides. That 84,000 children and youth in BC have a diagnosed mental disorder.

In response to these sobering statistics, Black Press Media’s Victoria News and Monday Magazine are proud to share with the community the Greater Victoria Mental Health Resource Guide, a special report exploring mental health in the Capital Region.

“From social isolation to depression and anxiety over finances, family and physical health, the current pandemic has highlighted just how vital it is to pay attention to our mental health – and how everyone can be affected,” says Penny Sakamoto, Black Press Media Group Publisher, Greater Victoria. “At the same time, we’ve also learned that we can all be part of the solution by bringing mental health into the open. You, me … we are not alone.”

Mental health concerns can emerge without consideration of age, gender or socio-economic differences; we are all susceptible, as are our family members, our friends, our co-workers and neighbours. In fact, by age 40, half the population will have or have had a mental illness, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition, people with a mental illness are twice as likely to have a substance use problem compared to the general population.

The implications of all this is significant, and it’s with that in mind that we share this guide.

In it we explore common mental health concerns, symptoms to watch for, and suggestions for improving and supporting our mental health, along with a wealth of local resources you can turn to for additional information and vital resources.

With information comes awareness and understanding, with the goal of reducing the stigma that prevents people from seeking the help they need.

There is good news, too.

A growing body of international evidence shows that promotion, prevention and early intervention initiatives show positive returns on investment.

And respondents to a 2015 survey said they believe attitudes about mental health issues have changed for the better compared to five years previously and 81 per cent were more aware of mental health issues compared.

None of this would be possible without our community partners – United Way Greater Victoria, the Bateman Foundation and Camosun College – and the many people working every day to make a difference, including Island Health, the non-profit sector and frontline workers.

To each, we say thank you. And to readers, we encourage you to learn more about mental health, for yourself, your loved ones and your community. Click here to read the guide online, to download your copy or to share it with a friend or a loved one.

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