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05/03/2011 Interlake RHA Recognized Mental Health Week - Releases new survey data
Interlake Residents Provide Excellent Response to Mental Health Survey
800 adults help Interlake RHA refine delivery of mental health services

Stonewall, May 5, 2011— To coincide with Mental Health Week, May 1 to 7, the Interlake Regional Health Authority (RHA) has released findings from its survey of Interlake residents’ mental health service needs.
 
Almost 800 (792) adults voluntarily responded to the survey that was mailed to a random sample of 5,000 Interlake households in October 2009. Most respondents were female (68%), married (66%), and between the ages of 45-64 (56%).
 
Dr. Karen Dyck, Interlake RHA consulting psychologist and associate professor in the Rural and Northern Psychology Programme, Department of Clinical Health Psychology at the University of Manitoba, directed the survey and compiled the results. Dr. Dyck has worked in the Interlake for the past 14 years.
 
“In our communities, our mental health workers are very busy,” Dr. Dyck said. “Input from Interlake residents is essential as we look for ways to expand mental health services and access to services in the region. The survey helped us learn more about people’s mental health needs, their treatment preferences, as well as reasons for not accessing treatment.”  
 
The survey was also designed to explore people’s openness to accessing newer, broader access supports and treatments such as Internet discussion groups and self-directed computer/Internet base treatment programs that people can work through either on their own or with the support of a mental health provider.

The two most commonly reported stress symptoms experienced by respondents over the past 30 days were feeling tired and nervous. While one in five (21%) respondents reported having a concern about their own mental health, over half (53%) had concerns about another person’s mental health. Respondents reported they would be most likely to seek advice from their spouse, family physician, and close friend if they were concerned about a serious mental health concern.
 
“The survey highlighted the importance of including family members and family physicians in the promotion of mental health programs,” Dr. Dyck said. “It’s really important that we look at making sure we have resources available for the individual who is experiencing the mental health issue directly, as well as their families and friends.”
 
The top two reasons respondents thought they would not seek any help for a mental health concern are “wanting to manage the problem on my own” (55%) and “thinking the problem is not bad enough to get help” (48%). Cost (35%), “worry about what others think” (28%) and “worry about others finding out” (23%) were also identified by a number of respondents. According to Dr. Dyck, self-directed treatment programs have been found to be effective in treating anxiety and depression and may offer means of addressing some of the reasons given for not seeking help. The survey results also highlight the importance of providing information that confirms the effectiveness of these services and making them more accessible.
 
Complete survey results:     Interlake RHA Mental Health Survey of Service Needs - Residents
 
For more information, contact:
Lauralou Cicierski, Public Relations Manager, 467-4747, lcicierski@irha.mb.ca
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