The ebb and flow of Alberta’s economy has a complex but critical link to the mental health needs of its residents.
As the economic strength of our province has declined, mental health services have become overwhelmed with calls for help.
We know that during a downturn, calls about domestic abuse increase; agriculture and oil and gas workers suffer depression and anxiety at higher rates; men take their own lives and suicide rates across the province increase.
What happens to the mental health of Albertans when an economy tanks? How does living in a province with wild cycles of booms and busts impact the long-term mental wellbeing of residents?
In a new series, Great West Newspapers journalist Jennifer Henderson will investigate the intersections between mental health needs and economic insecurity – and how the challenges wrought by COVID-19 are impacting Albertans’ mental and economic recovery.
Over the next month, Struggling For Hope will unpack which industries see higher rates of mental health problems, what social issues emerge when recessions hit and what experts say needs to be done to help address this problem.
Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Great West Newspapers, covering rural Alberta issues.