Dear Sisters & Brothers,
The last few weeks have been a surreal and trying time for us all and it feels like a lifetime since the pre-COVID normalcy we were living just over a month ago. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your immense commitment to this Local and each other while we navigate through this grueling period of adversity and societal upheaval.
As difficult as these previous weeks have been, our most challenging days are likely ahead of us. We have seen promising data from the Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that we here in B.C. are indeed flattening the curve, but our trend is not shared by many other jurisdictions in Canada and south of the border. We must remain vigilant.
This is going to be especially difficult for many of us at this time, as we go into a holiday long weekend that we so often have come together with friends and family. We must maintain our solidarity to the greater cause right now, which is to ensure we are all maintaining social distancing. That means foregoing family dinner, meet ups in the park, and attending our services and ceremonies. It does not mean total isolation. We have tools at our fingertips to stay in touch. Call your family members. Host a group chat online with friends. We can and should keep in social contact while sticking to the rules against physical contact and group gathering.
We recognize that this is a challenging time for everyone’s mental wellbeing and we want you to know about the mental health resources available. Sisters and Brothers, if you or members of your family feel like you need mental health support at this time, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Members and their families who are covered by the Local 213 Benefits Plan can access mental health services through Homewood Health Employee & Family Assistance Programs by visiting: their website Homewood Health or by calling 1-800-663-1142. If you are covered by your Employer’s benefits plan, it almost certainly has a similar assistance program.
As well, today the provincial government announced a significant expansion to mental health services throughout the province, with increased access to vital mental health supports and the launch of new mental wellness services. Several services are already available and online and you can access them now by visiting HealthLinkBC. Other services will come online by April 20. There will be more information to come about all of these services, and we will share them as they become available.
Our future may be unsure right now but I ask that you remain steadfast in the knowledge that we are more than capable of overcoming the days ahead. Our strength lies in humanity’s ability to adapt and I am reassured by the competency and professionalism of this Local’s family, to overcome these monumental adversities, as generations of Canadians have done before us.
I wish you all good health and strong spirit.