Table of Contents
Scope of the Psychosocial Support AG Plan
The Psychosocial Support AG Plan focuses on supporting the mental health of business owners and the workforce during disaster. Business owners often face incredible stress and hardship during disasters out of concern and impact on their incomes, their physical businesses and assets, and out of concern for their families, their staff and their communities. This is geared primarily to making sure that psychosocial supports are integrated into other programming across response and recovery activities.
AG Plan Lead and Committee Members
AG Lead: Low Income Housing
- Trail FAIR Society
- Trail Mental Health
- Salvation Army
- Interior Health
Additional Case Management and Support Organizations
- United Church
- Occupational therapists
- Local practitioners (Counselors and psychiatrists)
- Kootenay Family Place
- Kootenay Career Development Services
- Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL)
- Circle of Indigenous Nations (COINS)
- Frontline Mental Health Solutions (local practitioner)
Incident Quick Start Checklist
- Convene the AG committee.
- Establish connection between psychosocial services and the Business Emergency Operations Centre (BEOC).
Given capacity, work toward:
- Recruit psychosocial workers for the BEOC/Business Recovery Centre (BRC). This to be done by the acting AG Lead, or the Executive Leadership Team.
- Cross-train staff in the BEOC/BRC to assist with clients.
- Contract speakers who have experienced business loss and have successfully come out the other end, to make an inspirational presentation for the local business community. Colin O’Leary, from O’Leary and Associates is a valued source in this area.
Inventory of Existing Programs and Assets for Psychosocial Programming
- BC Emergency Health Services has many resources on their websites to assist those who are dealing with stress. More Information:
- BC First Responder Mental Health has many resources to help those on the front lines of disasters and traumatic events. More information: https://bcfirstrespondersmentalhealth.com/
- Small Business BC has mental health information for small business owners (related to COVID, but useful in many response and recovery situations). More information: https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca/hc/en-us/articles/360047804393-Mental-Well-Being
- The Canadian Red Cross provides training and courses in Psychological First Aid, which is accepted as standard training for those coping with a disaster and also for those helping others cope with a mental health crisis. These courses can be offered on short notice to support disaster recovery operations. More Information:
- The Canadian Mental Health Association can help support business owners’ mental health during a disaster. More information: https://cmha.ca/
- The Provincial Health Services Authority operates a volunteer-based disaster support registry, who can send volunteers to impacted communities to support through training and education. More information:
- A local organization who may be able to assist with supporting this AG is Frontline Mental Health Services. This for-profit organization provides support to local first responder groups and others managing mental health issues. More information: https://www.frontlinementalhealthsolutions.com/
Action Plan for Future Preparation and Mitigation Activities
- The Psychosocial AG can work to build capacity in the community. In particular, to identify local resources and/or train additional staff for futures BEOC.
- Develop materials and information portals to provide awareness of available resources.
- Identify outlets for business owners to talk about and share their experiences. Some of this is provided by case managers (with Psychosocial training), while others can be made possible in organized community round table exercises.
An example of this, were the weekly community round table meetings hosted by CFGT at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many local business shutdowns underway. Business owners were left reeling and struggling to find answers, so this virtually forum provided connections to other business owners and local government, experiencing the same issues. Collaboratively, they were able to work through most of the issues, share best practice methods, offer support to each other and grow stronger as a community.
- Formalize and create a template for future round table meetings, in preparation for the next disaster that hits our region.
- Advocate for funding to meet needs mental health challenges in times of disaster. Funding may be available through Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC), the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), or the Provincial Health Services Agency (PHSA), but typically not until an emergency event is underway.
- Maintain current business connections and build new contacts with community partners and funders. The Action group should meet twice annually to build relationships and develop materials and procedures.
- Develop a plan to create support groups for business owners for use in economic disruptions/recovery.
Appendix A: Typical Response and Recovery Activities
- Create a messaging campaign targeting business owners, which highlights the need for mental health supports and encourages business owners to seek help if they are feeling suicidal or emotionally challenged beyond their capacity. Messaging materials may be available from CMHA, EMBC and the Canadian Red Cross.
- Disseminate resources that can help family members and colleagues identify business owners in mental health distress. Much of this information is available through the links at the beginning of this action plan.
- Disseminate resources that support business owners in getting access to mental health supports.
- Bring trauma and grief counselors into the BEOC/intake centers to support business owners and residents on site. Some resources are noted below:
Emergency Psychosocial Support :
- Frontline Mental Health: https://www.frontlinementalhealthsolutions.com/
- Survey business owners to better understand their mental health challenges and work with counseling organizations to get the right supports in place. Support can be provided through the Communications Action Group, hotlines set up during a disaster, and through case managers who may be speaking with the business owners.