February marks Psychology Month in British Columbia and the BC Psychological Association (BCPA) is raising awareness of the role psychology plays in our lives, jobs and communities with a public education campaign.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates the economic burden of mental illness at more than $50 billion per year. The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that one in five Canadians will face a psychological disorder in their lifetime and mental illness is estimated to account for 30 per cent of short and long term disability claims.
Because of the enormous impact psychological disorders have in the workplace with absenteeism, employee turnover, medication and sick leave, many employers and insurers have increased employee benefits for psychological services.
For example, Starbucks has increased benefits from $500 to $5,000 for these services and Manulife up to $10,000 for its employees – recognizing the health and wellbeing of employees makes good business sense.
To raise awareness that effective psychological treatments exist for the vast majority of mental illnesses, BCPA is sponsoring Psychology Month, with a free public presentation series on various mental health topics throughout the month of February.
Each of the talks will be facilitated by a BCPA member with topics ranging from stress reduction and overcoming trauma and depression to attracting and holding on to love, as well as the psychological benefit of spending time with dogs.
This year, BCPA will be hosting select talks in Arabic, Punjabi and Cantonese to reach a wider audience. BCPA hopes the presentation series will bring greater awareness of mental health concerns including anxiety, depression, anger, stress and fear while providing information on where the public can access treatment. For a full list of the free public presentations series, visit: psychologists.bc.ca
“Psychological illness has a profound effect on everyone - individuals, families, the workplace and the economy,” says Dr. Marilyn Chotem, BC Psychological Association President. “Through our referral service, BCPA can help people directly or indirectly affected by mental illness to seek help. Our goal with Psychology Month is to encourage people to talk and think about their mental health, which is why we’re pleased to also be offering free public talks in English, Punjabi, Cantonese and Arabic this year. We hope the free public presentation series in Vancouver, Surrey and Kelowna will open a dialogue across cultures and generations.”