It goes without saying that the last few months have been difficult.
Since December, residents of the Strathcona Regional District have seen long term power outages, immobilizing snow, disconnection from vital supplies, not to mention the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and ever-changing public health orders. The SRD’s emergency operations centre was demobilized recently as things have finally started to become more normal, but that does not mean that everybody is back to being themselves.
To help with the mental health side of things, the SRD will be holding two virtual gatherings next week so people can have the chance to decompress after a stressful few weeks.
“It just seems like an appropriate time to provide these supports for people that just want to show up and listen, have something to say and learn about what further supports might be available to ensure that we’re all taking care of ourselves to the best of our ability,” said Shaun Koopman, SRD’s protective services coordinator. “Helping to treat the mental health piece is just all part of our standard operating procedure under the third goal of the emergency management system, which is to reduce suffering.”
The two events will be open to everyone in the area, and will be held over Zoom on Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The events will be hosted by Carolyn Sinclair, President of Strategic Business Risks International (SBRI). Sinclair is a n instructor at the Justice Institute of BC, instructing in the Emergency Management Division and the Centre for Counselling and Community Safety’s School of Health, Community and Social Justice. She has more than 25 years of professional and operational experience in the areas of emergency management, critical incident stress management, disaster response, and recovery.
“Carolyn is an expert in this field, and there’s nobody I can trust more to lead this session than her,”
Koopman said. “Community members feel that there is a greater need for something, then let’s have that conversation.”
The events will be fairly open ended, with the programming tailored to help those who attend.
“Carolyn will just start with a welcoming to the territory, setting expectations that it’s a safe, anonymous and confident space and everybody can speak in,” Koopman said. “She’ll talk about the recent experience, and ask if anybody wants to share their experience and what they’re feeling and then offer some coping strategies. It’ll be what the people who are attending need it to be.”
“It’s the dark time of year, gyms have been shut down — those are people’s coping mechanisms, January is a tough time of year mental health-wise enough. Then there’s Omicron, ever-changing public health guidelines, that stress alone, combined with power outages and the snow, this is just a small thing the emergency program can do for our community.
“We’re not alone. We are a community that’s in this together. It’s very likely that for the tough experience that you’re having, we can provide you with resources to help you cope. There are probably others within our regional district who are going through the same thing,” he said.
No preregistration is needed, but attendance will be limited to 100 people per event. The event is first come, first served People can attend by clicking this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84505236306?pwd=anpKU2lCbGNyZTZrblRFV3dreFZtUT09