Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice

Coping with COVID-19: How the Ridge Meadows Social Workers are Supporting Residents to Work Through Pandemic Trauma 

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Residents in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are getting critical support for coping with the stress and grief caused by COVID-19 thanks to the Ridge Meadows Primary Care Network.

Three social workers were hired by the Ridge Meadows Primary Care Network to provide support to community physicians and their patients through the Ridge Meadows Wellness & Urgent and Primary Care Centre.

Stella Mckay, one of the social workers, explains that her role provides mental health support that has been especially needed during COVID-19.

“With COVID-19, we are seeing many patients that may have struggled with anxiety or depression suddenly finding themselves overwhelmed and unable to cope. Our role is key because we can step in almost immediately to provide residents with skill coaching and counseling to help them get back to a place where they are functioning and feeling stable again. And because our interventions are short-term, we are able to provide this support to a large number of residents.”

For Kandy, the death of a family member from COVID-19 triggered a debilitating level of anxiety and depression. Having access to social work support, though, got her through the darkest days.

“When my ex-husband died from COVID-19, I really started having trouble coping,” Kandy recalls. “I think it really hit me when one of my daughters told me to make sure I was wearing a mask at work because she couldn’t lose another parent. The next morning, I just couldn’t get out of bed. I stayed there for five days. I was crying and shaking. I just didn’t want to be here anymore.”

Kandy’s family doctor, Dr. Charmaine Barredo, referred her to Mckay. Thanks to the counseling and anxiety management skills that McKay provided—support that Kandy says she wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise—she is now back at work and feel in control again.

“Having Stella (Mckay) listen to me and understand me made such a difference. If it wasn’t for Stella, I would have lost my job, I would have lost everything. I would still be in that bed,” says Kandy.

Primary Care Networks are part of a new model of health care being launched in partnership across BC by the Ministry of Health, Divisions of Family Practice, and health authorities. In Ridge Meadows, Fraser Health, the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice, and Katzie First Nation Fraser Health are collaborating to create a seamless primary health care journey for patients.

For more information, contact Jackie Amsden, communications manager, Ridge Meadows Primary Care Network, by email at jamsden@divisionsbca.ca or by phone at 778 865 2301.