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The impact of COVID-19 on rural and remote mental health and substance use webinar

March 9, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EST

The webinar offers community perspectives and expertise on some of the developing issues and unique mental health and substance use challenges of COVID-19 for rural and remote communities.

It is intended for providers and users of mental health and substance use services, people with lived and living experience, and the policy and research community.

The webinar builds on our October policy brief whose analysis and recommendations are brought to life through a case study from Princeton, B.C.

It is presented in partnership with the University of British Columbia, Okanagan (UBCO), and the Rural Coordination Centre of B.C.


  • Lauren Airth: Lauren  is a registered nurse who specializes in mental health and substance use. In 2019 she earned a Master of Science in nursing that focused on rural older adult mental health. Currently, Lauren is a campus health specialist at UBC Okanagan and is pursuing a nursing doctorate with a concentration in substance use harm reduction.


  • Edward Staples: Edward is a retired teacher living in the Tulameen Valley near Princeton, B.C. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Dickinson State University and a Master of Arts from the University of Victoria. In July 2020, Edward brought together community members and others to form the Princeton Community Health Table. He is also a founding member and president of the BC Rural Health Network.
  • Denika Ward: Denika  has a degree in psychology from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba. Since 2019 she has been working as a community suicide prevention coordinator for Eastern Health’s Roots of Hope project on the Burin Peninsula (N.L.)
  • Brittany Howell: Brittany is a policy planning and research analyst on the Burin Peninsula (N.L.) with Eastern Health’s Roots of Hope suicide prevention project. She is a passionate advocate for mental health who holds a degree in psychology from Carleton University a Master of Science from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her various research roles have focused on illness prevention, health promotion, and mental health.
  • Bobby Jo Smith: Bobby Jo, PMP is currently Executive Director with North of Superior Counselling Programs (NOSP), where she has been since May of 2021, following a move from South Western Ontario. NOSP provides mental health and addiction services for individuals across the lifespan and who are living across the rural District of Thunder Bay, an area which spans over 61,000 square kilometers. Bobby Jo has worked in the community not-for-profit sector for over 25 years, with mental health and addictions being her primary focus and passion. Bobby Jo’s work in both South Western Ontario and Northern Ontario, during COVID19, has provided her with insight into the dramatic differences of ‘living through COVID’ in more urban centres versus rural communities.

Simultaneous French translation will be provided. Look for the webinar recording in March.

Register here! 


March 9, 2022
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EST
Event Category: