B.C. researcher says people coping with wildfires not receiving enough mental health support

By Tiffany Crawford
Vancouver Sun
May 29, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ashley Berard, a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria is calling for better mental health support for B.C. residents coping with the trauma of wildfires. Berard is studying the social impact of disasters and found that many people in wildfire-affected communities have heightened feelings of anxiety and depression, an overwhelming sense of grief and loss, and increased stress about smoke inhalation. Of the 35 people she interviewed in communities in B.C’s Interior such as Kamloops and Lytton, only one said they were receiving counselling. The interview subjects included those who lost their homes to fire, evacuees, and some people experiencing adverse health impacts from wildfire smoke. She said a common thread in the interviews was financial stress, such as having difficulty navigating insurance or resources to help rebuild their houses, and the concern about not being able to afford counselling for mental health issues and trauma.

Read More