Peer Support Services offers trained volunteer peers

There is help for people suffering from anxiety, through the Canadian Mental Health Association

Editor’s note: Following is the first of four articles from Peer Support Services at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) on mental health issues, as a way to open the door towards better understanding. The first details Sandy’s experience with anxiety. Names have been changed.

Sandy walked through the Village Green Centre, browsing the stores. Suddenly, she feels intense fear which is inappropriate for the circumstances.

Dropping her parcels, she reaches for her heart as she feels intense palpitations, pounding of the heart and it appears to be accelerating. Don, who was walking by her, notices how she is acting. He stops and asks her if she is all right.  He sees that Sandy is trembling and she slowly starts to tell him how she is feeling.

“I am very frightened that I may be having a heart attack,” says Sandy.  Don, who has been trained in mental health first aid, knows that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between a heart attack and a panic attack.  Don says to Sandy, “I will call 911 to get someone here to help you.”

Sandy is now noticing that she is feeling dizzy, unsteady and faint. Don takes her over to a chair and makes the call on his cell phone.  While they are waiting, Sandy’s breath is quick and Don notes this as he says to her “try to breathe at the same time as my arms go up and down.  I would like to help you slow down your breathing.” She complies, and by the time the emergency services arrives she is breathing normally.

The team takes her into the hospital and they run heart tests on her. The doctor on duty comes to the conclusion that it was a panic attack.

Sandy is worried about being diagnosed with a mental disorder. She is afraid of the stigma attached to it. The doctor reassures her that if this happens occasionally, there is effective medication to control this disorder.

Anxiety disorders are the number-one mental health problem in Canada. At Peer Support Services, through the CMHA, the public can come and talk about mental health concerns. They have trained volunteer peers available to support someone going through mental health symptoms.

CMHA is at 3100 -28th Ave., and the Peer Support Services number is 250-542-6155.  Peer Support Services is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The Mental Health First Aid course created by the Mental Health Commission of Canada is also available through CMHA.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No bucks for Ellison park expansion, ministry tells Vernon chamber

Vernon Chamber of Commerce vows to help government connect with potential funding partners to see Chelsea Estate purchased

COVID-19: Vernon fields and courts ready for booking

Local sport organizations will soon be able to get back out on the field for limited activities

$500 fine for Vernon man caught near Coldstream playground

Richard Slobodian, 58, served one night in jail and ordered to pay for breaching probation

Vernon firefighters showcase new rescue equipment

New tools helping VFRS make safer, swifter and more versatile rescue operations

House arrest for Vernon physiotherapist guilty of sexual assault

Stephen Witvoet to serve 18-month conditional sentencing following July 8 hearing

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read