Managing mental wellness during the holidays

Victoria Tuesday, December 19, 2017 8:15 AM

This holiday season, British Columbians are encouraged to give themselves and their loved ones the gift of putting mental health first.

The holiday season can be a joyful and exciting time of year. But it can also be stressful, and particularly challenging for people with mental-health or substance-use issues.

The holidays can bring added pressures, such as travelling, socializing, late nights, busy schedules, financial strain and the quest to find the perfect gift.

These demands can affect mental health, particularly for those who are:

  • experiencing heightened stress;
  • grieving the loss of a loved one;
  • empty-nesters;
  • elderly;
  • living alone; or
  • living with anxiety or depression.

Many mental-health and substance-use services and supports are available throughout the province for adults, youth and children. Sometimes it can make all the difference to share feelings with a compassionate professional who can offer tools and ideas to improve mental health and wellness.

Mental-health and substance-use supports in B.C. include:

  • Mental Health Digital Hub: is a provincial website that provides information, services and education and awareness about mental health and substance use for adults, youth and children.
  • Heretohelp: is a provincial website that provides 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: B.C. has a network of direct and contracted services for people experiencing substance-use challenges, including counselling, needle exchanges, opiate-replacement therapy, and withdrawal management and prevention programs for adults and youth. Call toll-free: 1 866 658-1221
  • The Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service: Provides resources, support and referral information for treatment and counsellors around the province. Call toll-free: 1 800 663-1441 or 604 660-9382 (Greater Vancouver)
  • HealthLink BC: Provides 24-hour, confidential health information and advice. Call: 811, or visit:
  • Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre: Provides confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide. Call: 604 872-3311 (Greater Vancouver), or toll-free 1 800 SUICIDE (784-2433), or visit:
  • Bounce Back: A free, evidence-based program designed to help youth and adults experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood or stress, with or without anxiety. Bounce Back teaches effective skills to help people improve their mental health. Call toll-free: 1 866 639-0522, or visit:

Supports for children and youth:

Online supports:

  • MindHealthBC: Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Providence Health Care and community partners have created an online mental-health counselling program called MindHealthBC. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental-health or substance-use challenges, this is a simple easy way to get help. For more information, visit:
  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: A provincial resource that provides mental-health and substance-use information, resources and peer support to children, youth and their families in British Columbia. Services are free of charge, and you can reach them over the phone, in person, or through email. For more information, visit:

For more information on supports specific to your region:

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