The B.C. government recently created a “digital resource hub” to offer mental health resources to people in the tourism, hospitality and social service sectors, but the website is not been well received by Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford.
In a news release issued Wednesday, the province said the hub offers a range of tools to help address common workplace concerns, such as bullying, harassment, COVID-19 exposure, coping with stress and more.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on people working in tourism, hospitality and social services,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson in a release.
“I’m grateful to workplace leaders (who are) stepping up to promote positive mental health for their employees. This will have a lasting impact.”
The hub provides workshops, webinars, and information to help employees manage stress.
However, Halford says the the hub doesn’t add much in the way of additional support to address current mental health concerns caused by the pandemic, because it simply collates existing resources.
“People need real support that provides relief, not an online hub that doesn’t provide much more than a telephone number on how they can maybe get help. People need to know that if they call, they will get actual help,” said the BC Liberals’ mental health and addictions critic, in a release.
“This government needs to urgently commit more funds to mental health supports and we’re calling on John Horgan to provide a plan that clearly lays out how increased funding will be used to provide desperately needed support for British Columbians.”
Halford said a barrier for many people, particularly working mothers who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, is the cost of counselling.
“We need to ensure we’re helping people deal with trauma and protecting their mental health, especially during a pandemic where many have also been hit hard financially. We need to eliminate barriers like wait times and affordability so that everyone who needs access to counselling and psychiatric services gets the help they need,” he said.
According to the B.C. government news release, the hub is to be expanded in May to include a training and coaching platform for business managers. The online hub is being developed in partnership with the BC Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and other health and safety associations.
Of B.C.’s economic recovery plan, $2 million was provided for the development of the hub and the soon-to-be launched coaching program for the tourism and hospitality sectors.
The hub can be found at workmentalhealthbc.ca