Mental health and substance use are part of the human journey. Everyone experiences the complexities of MHSU in various ways, though various forms, in various stages of life. Our educational events expand mental health and substance use literacy across the province, through special programming, annual campaigns, and much more. These are the highlights from our six key initiatives.
Beyond the Blues
Established in 1995, BC Partners’ annual mental health and substance use awareness campaign encourages people across the province to explore mental wellbeing, including how to recognize the signs of depression, anxiety, and problematic substance use.
- 32 Screening/education events
- 112 staff and volunteers
- 12,064 Materials distributed to sites
- 10 e-newsletters sent to 270 subscribers
- 7 Webinars for BTB planners
- Press releases, social media ads, and print media ads on behalf of BTB planners
- 1 Session on BTB during the Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses Summit
- Event planner survey
Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness Week
Every year from February 1-7, the Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign kicks off its BC-wide events and activities, led by Jessie’s Legacy. This yearlong movement is designed to raise awareness around eating disorders prevention and intervention, as well as media literacy, healthy body image, and self-esteem.
- 34 Landmarks/venues engaged in Light Up Purple campaign
- 18 In the Know eating disorder events hosted by FamilySmart™ to support parents/caregivers
- 2 PEDAW e-newsletters sent
- Screening tools on body image and eating attitudes developed with the Canadian Mental Health Association
- 1 Podcast on eating disorders with Family Services of the North Shore
- Shared experience PEDAW campaign video
- BC proclamation declaring Feb 1-7 PEDAW
- In the Know on eating disorders developed with FamilySmart™
National Child & Youth Mental Health Day (May 7, 2020)
Caring conversations can have a big impact on the mental health of children and youth. Founded in 2007 by FamilySmart™, National Child & Youth Mental Health Day is designed to build caring connections between young people and the influential adults in their lives. With the campaign name “I care about you,” this special day trended on Twitter and engaged tens of thousands of people across the country.
- 44 Staff involved
- 4 Live online events
- Facebook ads
- 3 Event hosts
- Staff assigned to post and respond to social media on May 7th
- 2 e-newsletters distributed for May 7th
Our Anxiety Stories (Anxiety Canada Podcast)
Hearing people from all walks of life sharing their experiences with anxiety can be both validating and healing. Hosted by John Bateman, Our Anxiety Stories interviews experts, psychologists, celebrities, and regular people about their lessons and experiences with anxiety.
- 18 New episodes
- 4 Facebook ads
- 1 Ongoing Google keyword campaign
- Listener feedback survey
- Rebrand with new visual assets
- Podcast webpage rebrand
In the Know
In the Know has deep roots in the FamilySmart™ organization. These monthly mental health networking and information-sharing sessions reflect what parents, caregivers, young people, and service providers want to know. Hosted across the province by community-based Parents in Residence, events include speakers, topic discussions, and videos aired at group sessions and available online.
- 129 Events
- 18 – 24 Parent in Residence-hosted events per month
- 7 New and unique topic videos
- 5 Facebook ads
- 1 In the Know developed with Jessie’s Legacy
- In the Know developed with Anxiety Canada
- In the Know website rebrand
- Rebrand of visual assets
Look Again Podcast
In Canada, one in five people experience a mental health problem or mental illness, and one in 100 people live with schizophrenia. Launched on March 31, 2021, the new podcast series from the BC Schizophrenia Society highlights the diverse voices of the mental illness community. The podcast features medical experts, families, and those who live with mental illnesses – to dispel myths and share truth.
- 1 Plan for an 8-episode podcast
- Podcast released Mar 31, 2021 (rest will follow in next fiscal year)
What we learned in 2020/21:
Digital challenges and opportunities
The Covid-19 pandemic required a shift to online events, which produced several key lessons:
- Hosting live events often requires new facilitation skills and technical support
- Creating or enhancing online platforms for events and engagement requires additional funding
- While online events pose major challenges to relationship- and support-building activities, event participants helped us to understand that digital tools like online screenings, podcasts, and online learning events can expand our reach and open participation to a wider number of British Columbians
Reinforcing the power of partnership
Bringing together previously separate components and intentional BCP enabled us to address timely issues through multiple mechanisms, such as using In the Know to discuss eating disorders. Co-producing resources and events also enabled us to combine professional and lived expertise.
Listening to British Columbians
As provincial health literacy providers, listening and responding to the current experiences of British Columbians is both important and imperative. For example, understanding their questions or information access needs has enabled us to plan and develop resources and events, while helping us to improve our delivery mechanisms.
- We continue to look for opportunities to provide a mix of in-person and online events.
- We should seek to learn and apply promising practices for online events, in order to support relationships and build capacity. For example, we could provide facilitation, learning, and development for those hosting live, online events.
- We need to develop a sustainability plan that considers the additional funding required to support online platforms and activities.
- We should continue to maximize cross-component integration and inter-agency collaboration to address the full range of MHSU issues across our mechanisms.
- We should always seek to bring together both professional expertise and lived experience as we develop and deliver resources and events, to build understanding among the various stakeholders.
- BCP evaluation efforts should focus primarily on understanding British Columbians’ experiences relative to MHSU health literacy, and use this understanding to guide all future BCP activities.