Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of mental health and addictions. (Black Press Media file photo)

Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of mental health and addictions. (Black Press Media file photo)

LETTER: Services available to those needing mental health and addictions support

The holiday season is a time for celebrations, but for many, it can also be the season of loneliness, stress and difficult memories.

British Columbians have been through a lot this year. Many people are rebuilding their homes and communities after floods and wildfires, we are all continuing to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are feeling the effects of global inflation. On top of that, the toxic drug crisis continues to affect communities and people throughout our province.

These challenges can take an immense toll on our individual and collective mental health. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression or other challenges, reach out for help.

If you are using drugs, remember that there are ways to stay safer and get help. Take special care of yourself during this season. Try not to use alone, start low and go slow, and test your drugs.

As the new minister of mental health and addictions, I feel an enormous sense of responsibility to continue tackling the toxic drug crisis and building a system of care. Our government is urgently working to make sure everyone in British Columbia is met with the right supports at the right time.

This holiday season is different for everyone, but services are available for all British Columbians now or any time of the year. If you need or know someone who needs support, I encourage you to seek out services that can help.

Jennifer Whiteside

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions