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Northern Health warning about the effect the wildfire season has on mental health

With the stress of wildfire season, Northern Health is trying to make sure residents have the resources they need to cope.

Shane DeMeyer, Director of Specialized Services for Northern Health said it’s normal to have anxiety.

“The fear of having to leave your home and possessions, having to relocate and obviously the health concerns if you already have an issue with the air quality all ramps up your anxiety.”

Northern Health has tips for how people can stay mentally healthy this summer.

. Prepare yourself and family with an emergency plan, which includes knowing what to do with pets and livestock.
. Take care of the basics like eating well and getting enough sleep.
. Ask for help from family, friends, a doctor, or counsellor because doing this on your own does not work.
. Helping others like neighbours and checking in on the elderly and children is essential because some live alone or remember previous evacuations not know how to cope.

“You end up developing symptoms, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat, it can cause depression and hopelessness, and basically, it can just start to rule your life, so that’s why it’s important to reach out when you feel the need,” said DeMeyer.

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