The Editor’s Desk: It’s good to talk

The simple act of talking to someone else about stressful events can be a huge help.

In the 1990s, actor Bob Hoskins was hired as the spokesperson for British Telecom, and starred in a series of ads that showed people connecting by phone with family and friends. The ads all ended the same way, with Hoskins turning to the camera and assuring viewers that “It’s good to talk.”

I was reminded of these ads when I was invited to speak to a class at Cache Creek Elementary earlier this spring. The students had, as part of a project, been reading and studying articles from The Journal last year that dealt with the floods and fires in our region, and the teacher explained that they wanted to discuss journalism in general and the flood/fire coverage in particular.

The students were clearly engaged, and had prepared some very thoughtful questions. How difficult were the stories to cover, since I live in the community and knew many people involved? What sources did I use to get reliable and accurate information? Which story—flood or fire—had been harder to write about? Had I been scared, during the fire?

This last question took me somewhat aback, but I said that yes, I had been scared. Eventually the students began putting their hands up: not to ask more questions, but to make statements about themselves and their experiences..

Since this was Cache Creek, most of the students had been evacuated on July 7. Some had been in town at the time, and witnessed the fire at first hand; others had been out of town and unable to return. Some had had their entire family with them and were able to stay together; others spoke of family members who were in different locations when the evacuation was ordered, and the subsequent confusion as they tried to get back together.

Their stories were all told in very matter-of-fact ways, and to a person they were not shy about stating their feelings: anxiety, fear, stress, even panic. They spoke of their concern for pets and younger siblings, of nightmares they had afterward. One student said that she attended a concert while on evacuation, and how the event proved a welcome respite, for a time, from her worries about the fire.

It was clear that they wanted to talk about possibly the most profound event they had gone through in their young lives, and I let them, staying (at the teacher’s invitation) for the entire afternoon rather than just an hour. As each student finished I thanked them for sharing, and said—in what I hope was a reassuring way—that the feelings they had described were all completely normal and understandable. Did it help? I hope so.

As the anniversary of the start of the Elephant Hill wildfire approaches, painful and stressful and frightening memories and experiences will be in the forefront of many people’s minds. There has been, in recent months, a shift towards also helping people’s mental well-being in the aftermath of the floods and fires of 2017, rather than just looking at material needs.

Thanks to the stigma which, in many cases, still surrounds mental health, some people may be unwilling to reach out for help. Don’t be afraid to do so, whether it be to a professional, a friend, or a family member. As those students at Cache Creek demonstrated, without drama or hesitation, it’s good to talk.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

3 dead after semi-truck collides with car on B.C. Interior highway

Police said the intersection between Highway 97 and Highway 99 would remain closed for some time

Cache Creek Elementary School wins $100,000 in playground improvements

The school was one of three winners in the BCAA Play Here initiative.

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

New community paramedic is no stranger to the area

Philip Schuberg is looking forward to his new role helping residents with their health care needs.

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

B.C. soldier shot down a century ago to be honoured

Norman Stuart Harper, of Kamloops, was killed on a bombing mission over Lahr, Germany, in 1918

Trump sends letter to Trudeau calling for increase in NATO defence spending

The letter comes as tensions between Canada and the United States have risen to a dramatic high

Horse put down, 1 person in hospital after hit by car in Lower Mainland

Accident along 132nd Avenue in Maple Ridge Friday afternoon

Electoral reform vote in B.C. includes $500,000 each for pro and con groups

A mail-in ballot referendum will take place Oct. 22 to Nov. 30, asking two questions on voting

83-year-old inmate dies at medium-security prison in Mission

Correctional Services Canada says Ralph Whitfield Morris died in custody

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna suspended for 75 games

23-year-old pitcher faces assault charge

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged B.C. fentanyl dealer

Vancouver Island man Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to investigation

Most Read