Princeton is very, very sad

An Interior Health report indicates 36 percent of people in Princeton experience depression

It’s not a happy statistic.

The Town of Princeton has one of the highest levels of depression and anxiety in BC’s interior, and it resides in the worst-rated region in the province for the same afflictions.

According to a recent Interior Health report 36% of people in Princeton experience depression and anxiety compared to an average of 27 % in the communities covered by Interior Health, and an average of 25% across British Columbia. A previous report has the Okanagan ranked the highest region in BC for depression, out of 16 regions, with Richmond being the lowest.

Betty Brown, who works for Interior Health with the Healthy Communities Initiative, said the numbers should be “eye-opening,” in an interview with The Spotlight following a presentation to council Monday night.

She added mental health problems in the community are likely even more prevalent than the data suggests. “The key issue in mental health is that it is under-reported.”

Susan Brown, Community Health Services Administrator for Interior Health, said there has been no detailed analysis to explain Princeton’s high numbers of mental health patients.

The study captures any person who has visited a doctor for depression or anxiety twice in a one-year period, or who has been hospitalized for those issues.

“We know that in the South Okanagan we have a high rate of seniors,’ she said, adding that physical health concerns, loss of mobility, loss of friends and changes in family situations can cause depression in an aging population.

“It is a concern when people are socially isolated…I suspect the issue is far more complex though.”

Historically there has been spotty access to mental health services in the area, said Susan Brown. “For a good many years we did not have one psychiatrist in the whole South Okanagan…now we have a complete team.”

Those specialists are available to Princeton residents. As well, following a recently completed review of rural mental health services, permanent full time staff has been increased in Princeton.

Princeton General Hospital has a fulltime social worker and a mental health nurse, while a third member of the mental health team staffs the Anchorage Drop In Centre on Vermillion Avenue. Previously mental health workers were shared between Princeton and Keremeos.

“It’s great to see they are putting fulltime workers into the community,” said Marilyn Harkness, a nursing professional and former health care administrator.

Harkness, also a former town councilor and currently a volunteer with the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition, said it’s important to “raise the level of awareness” about mental health.

She said lower than average education and income levels in Princeton may be impacting mental health statistics.

“They contribute to basic health. Why wouldn’t they be contributing factors to mental health?”

 

Harkness said people should “demand more from their health care system.” No one needs a doctor to receive mental health care. “It’s all self referral,” she said. “Call [the hospital] and say: ‘I need to see a social worker.’”

 

 

Just Posted

RDOS cannabis production bylaw goes to public hearing

Hearing on micro cannabis production facilities will be held Nov. 21

RDOS issues 405 building permits in first nine months of 2019

Construction activity higher this year than during same period last year

Voting locations ‘not going to be perfect’ says Elections Canada

The Princeton Legion was a busy place this weekend, as advance polls… Continue reading

Princetons caboose battle pulls back into court

Princeton’s historic caboose rolled back into court last Thursday, with the Vermilion… Continue reading

Kelowna Liberal, Conservative candidates at odds on economic issues

The mortgage stress test and deficit spending were hot topics at an early morning forum

Election 2019: Robert Mellalieu — Green Party candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Robert Mellalieu is running for the Green Party in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

First all-female spacewalk team makes history

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did work on International Space Station’s power grid

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

North Okanagan patients benefit from new staff and equipment

New physiatrist and much-needed equipment at VJH

Growing cherries, apples, pears — and big pumpkins

Boerboom worked to produce a massive melon from his Summerland farm

West Kelowna resort denies being fined after six bears destroyed

‘We are good with the compliance,’ said the resort’s operations manager

Most Read