In­ter­est in on­line men­tal health por­tal wide­spread

Tillsonburg News - - DRIVING - HEATHER RIVERS

it’s de­signed to re­duce iso­la­tion for those with men­tal health is­sues, and im­prove both their cop­ing skills and emo­tional health.

here’s an in­tro­duc­tion to the one of the lon­don re­gion’s new­est around-the-clock men­tal health ini­tia­tives.

“big white wall is an on­line por­tal for in­di­vid­u­als 16 to 34 with de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety­type is­sues, but there are also a mul­ti­tude of other men­tal health sup­ports,” said Paul gill, clin­i­cal dig­i­tal lead with the south west lo­cal health in­te­gra­tion Net­work (lhiN). “in the last decade, men­tal health vis­its to emer­gency rooms have jumped sig­nif­i­cantly, as have hos­pi­tal­iza­tions for de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and eat­ing dis­or­ders. more work needs to be done to in­ter­vene be­fore peo­ple end up in the er in cri­sis.”

in­tro­duced to the area in June, gill said hun­dreds of lo­cal res­i­dents — of which 24 to 34 year olds are the big­gest users — have reg­is­tered for big white wall.

“it’s very sim­i­lar to Face­book, but it’s com­pletely anony­mous,” gill said. “you can post how you are feel­ing or what you are go­ing through.”

gill said one of the big­gest el­e­ments of the big white wall is that peo­ple with men­tal health is­sues of­ten “feel less iso­lated.”

“you go on­line and you see there are 30 other peo­ple post­ing who are go­ing through some­thing sim­i­lar,” he said. “you im­me­di­ately start to feel less iso­lated.”

he hopes more peo­ple will ac­cess the new tech­nol­ogy that is a part­ner­ship with New Zealand and the u.K.

“stud­ies have shown that young peo­ple are ea­ger to adopt tech­nol­ogy to man­age their own health and the ini­tial re­sults for big white wall bear this out,” gill said. “we be­lieve res­i­dents of the south west lhiN in gen­eral are open to us­ing tech­nol­ogy to man­age their health and we are en­cour­aged by the rel­a­tively broad par­tic­i­pa­tion in big white wall.”

other parts of the wall in­clude self-help mo­d­ules grounded in cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy.

“it al­lows in­di­vid­u­als to re­flect on their mood and try to fig­ure out what their trig­gers are that kept them there and what the trig­gers might be to help them get out of dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions,” gill said. “These mo­d­ules, we are see­ing, have high uti­liza­tion.”

in­ter­est is high­est in cour­ses en­ti­tled man­age stress and anx­i­ety, man­age your de­pres­sion and eat healthy and lose weight.

“The south west lhiN is reach­ing out to health-care providers and the gen­eral pub­lic through so­cial me­dia, but we in­vite ev­ery­one to share and talk about big white wall,” gill said.

res­i­dents of the south west lhiN now can ac­cess two free self-help psy­chother­apy ser­vices big white wall and bounce back.

any­one can ac­cess the ser­vice at www.big­white­wall.ca

bounce­back, which can be ac­cessed through a physi­cian, is a tele­phone coach­ing pro­gram that is grounded in cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy.

gems val­ued at nearly $100,000 were stolen from an inger­soll jewelry store in what po­lice de­scribe as a dis­trac­tion theft.

Two men and six women en­tered lesser broth­ers Jew­ellers ltd. on Thames street in inger­soll on Nov. 3 at about 11 a.m., ox­ford oPP said.

in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve the group used a “dis­trac­tion tech­nique” to avert an em­ployee’s at­ten­tion while items were taken from a locked cab­i­net, po­lice said.

var­i­ous pieces of jewelry worth $99,000 were stolen.

Po­lice be­lieve the sus­pects drove off in large dark sports util­ity ve­hi­cle.

oPP of­fi­cers searched the area but weren’t able to lo­cate the sus­pects or ve­hi­cle.

The two men are in their 30s, about six feet in height with av­er­age builds, dark hair and dark fa­cial hair. They were wear­ing dark bomber style jack­ets and jeans, po­lice said.

The six adult fe­male sus­pects wore full length dresses and head scarves.

any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the theft is asked to call ox­ford County oPP at 1-888310-1122 or 519-485-6554 or Crime stop­pers at 1-800-222-8477.

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