Mental health professionals are changing the way they treat their clients as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve got a lot of tools to treat stress and anxiety, like red light therapy and different technologies that we normally use,” said Dr. Tom Diamond, a registered clinical counsellor at Brainigo in Comox. “Of course, we can’t do that anymore so we’ve had to pivot to what we can do online and by phone.”
Diamond is just one of the hundreds of clinical counsellors on Vancouver Island who is changing the way they’re meeting the growing demand for help amid the coronavirus crisis.
“We’ve got both counselling on the phone, counselling by video and there are rules and regulations around that and we’re all scrambling in the field to figure how to do this right, do it well and get it out there quickly because people need it,” he said.
The Canadian Mental Health Association says branches across the province are receiving increased calls for support, despite the fact that most offices are closed and in-person groups have been put on hold.
“In crisis-line service delivery we’re noticing an uptick in calls related to COVID-19 and we are anticipating a demand on services on a go-forward basis,” said Jonny Morris, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division.
Morris says he’s particularly worried about health-care workers, as well as those already living with a mental health or substance abuse problems and the general public who are experiencing new stress and anxiety around the COVID-19 crisis.
“And loss. Loss of work, loss of certainty and we’re anticipating that that will have an impact on mood, stress and anxiety as well which arguably are very normal responses to a very extraordinary time that we’re facing,” Morris added.
“It’s very easy to underestimate because we’re not really in the full throes of the crisis yet, there’s more is to come, but the stress is already here,” said Diamond.
If you think you need help you’re encouraged to find a counselling service to talk to.
To reach Dr. Tom Diamond, visit brainigo.com
For more information about local and provincial services, visit cmha.bc.ca.
Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1?888-494-3888 or for additional information visit vicrisis.ca