Increased funded mental health needed after overdose deaths

The comments come after local religious leaders and community workers said international Punjabi students in Surrey are dying at high rates of drug overdose.

Press Progress spoke to Giani Narinder Singh of the Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran in Surrey, who stated that the Gurdwara had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars helping to return student bodies back home to India to their families.

Singh explained that many students are unaware of the supply of toxic drugs and that substances like fentanyl can be found in the drugs they may be using.

The supply of toxic drugs claimed nearly 2,300 lives in 2022, according to the BC Coroners Service. The number of deaths investigated by the BC Coroners Service in 2022 is the second highest total in a calendar year and just 34 fewer than the 2,306 deaths reported to the agency in 2021.

And toxic drugs were responsible for an average of 189 deaths per month in 2022, or 6.2 lives lost each day. The final number for 2022 will almost certainly increase as investigations are completed and final causes of death are established.

“Universities of Canada and their members are deeply saddened and concerned by the news of overdose deaths in BC We encourage students to contact their universities and take advantage of the resources available on campus,” Graham Barber, assistant director of international relations for Canada universities said The PIE News.

“Universities are committed to working with students, the government and the community to ensure that our campuses are safe environments and that students have access to effective support.

“Direct funding is urgently needed to provide essential improvements to on-campus mental health care for students. Canadian universities have been urging the federal government to fulfill its 2021 election commitment to establish a $500 million student mental health fund over four years.”

BC does not currently collect data based on race or ethnicity related to death from toxic drugs. However, the provincial government said it knows how important it is to collect intersectional demographic data.

“The health and well-being of all students in the province is a priority for the government, especially as the toxic drug crisis continues,” said a spokesperson for the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. The news from PIE.

“BC is one of the most popular destinations for international students in Canada, hosting 22% of all international students with study permits in the country. The number of international students studying in BC on a study permit has increased from approximately 100,000 in 2013 to over 184,000 in 2021.

“Language should never be a barrier to getting help. That’s why the government is providing culturally competent and language-specific services, a key pillar of A path to hope – the province’s roadmap for improving mental health and addiction care in BC by improving access and quality of care.”

The spokesperson said that across the province, psychiatrists, counselors and psychologists provide mental health and substance use support in multiple languages ​​to address the diverse needs of people in their communities.

“Wherever possible, regional health authorities connect service providers with specific languages ​​with people who may have language barriers. The province also works with several community partners to offer services in multiple languages.”

In 2022, community leaders in Brampton, Ontario also warned of suicides among the Indian student population, citing mental health issues and loneliness as issues some students face. Previously, stakeholders have also said that visa delays have put the mental health of international students at risk.

Universities Canada said that in addition to on-campus resources, students have access to the government’s Here2Talk program, which offers free mental health counseling and referral 24/7 via app, phone or online chat to higher education students, including international students.

Support in languages ​​other than English and French may be available upon request.

“The program is free for students enrolled at a BC post-secondary institution and provides confidential mental health support services throughout the province and is accessible to part-time and full-time national, indigenous, and international students in both undergraduate and graduate school. graduate school,” added Barber.

Since April 2020, when the program launched, Here2Talk has supported 6,583 unique students from 176 institutions.

Here2Talk services were accessed more than 23,600 times and counselors provided more than 13,696 mental health interventions in that time and more than 14,000 hours of clinical care.

If you need support, help is available.

Lifeline: 131 114
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

New Zealand
Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Samaritans: 116 123

Crisis and Suicide Lifeline 988: 988

TalkSuicide: 1 833 456 4566

Increased funded mental health needed after overdose deaths

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