VANCOUVER, April 1 /CNW/ - For people with family and friends living or travelling in areas affected by the recent disasters in Japan, the British Columbia Psychological Association stands ready to help. Those in BC who are experiencing emotional concerns due to these events in Japan can access the services of the BCPA Disaster Response Network who will provide brief pro bono psychological services to help restore coping skills challenged by the enormity of this disaster. These services can be accessed by contacting the BCPA either by email at or by telephone at 604-730-0501.

Even for those without personal connections to the country, the news coverage can be overwhelming. For those British Columbians who may be struggling to cope from a distance, or are having trouble dealing with the images of the disasters, the British Columbia Psychological Association offers the following tips to manage your distress:

  • Take a news break. Watching endless replays of footage from the disaster can make your stress even greater. Although you will want to keep informed - especially if you have loved ones in Japan - taking a break from watching the news can lessen your distress.

  • Control what you can. There are routines in your life that you can continue such as going to work or school and making meals. It is helpful to maintain these routines and schedules to give yourself a break from constantly thinking about the disasters.

  • Find a productive way to help if you can. Many organizations are set up to provide various forms of aid to survivors. Contributing or volunteering is a positive action that can help you to make a difference.

  • Keep things in perspective. While disasters can bring tremendous hardship and loss, remember to focus on the things that are good in your life. Persevere and trust in your ability to get through the challenging days ahead.

For many people, using the tips above may be sufficient to get them through current challenges. At times, however, an individual can have difficulty managing intense reactions. A registered psychologist can assist you in developing an appropriate strategy for moving forward. It is important to get professional help if you feel like you are unable to function or perform basic activities of daily living. You can find psychologists near you by checking the BCPA website:

ABOUT BCPA Disaster Response Network: In accordance with British Columbia Psychological Association's belief that it is the fundamental right of all individuals to have access to mental health services, the BC Disaster Response Network of psychologists offers psychological intervention on a pro bono basis during and after destructive events. Our role includes brief psychological treatment with persons whose usual methods of coping have become ineffective in the face of such disasters or destructive events. Other services to be offered are facilitation of training for psychologists who wish to become members of BCPA's DRN, on site consultations, crisis intervention, education, follow up, and assistance with referrals to appropriate mental health services.

ABOUT British Columbia Psychological Association:
With over 700 members from across British Columbia, BCPA represents a valuable Healthcare resource. Since 1938, the BCPA has represented psychologists in British Columbia; it is a voluntary body and is committed to advancing the delivery and availability of Psychological Services along with promoting the psychological well being of all British Columbians.

SOURCE British Columbia Psychological Association

For further information:

Rebecca Smith
Executive Director
#204-1909 West Broadway,
Vancouver, BC V6J 1Z3
Ph: 604-730-0501
Fx: 604-730-0502

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