VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - January 31, 2017) - February marks Psychology Month in British Columbia and the BC Psychological Association (BCPA) is raising awareness of the role psychology plays in our lives, jobs and communities with a public education campaign.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates the economic burden of mental illness at more than $50 billion per year. The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that one in five Canadians will face a psychological disorder in their lifetime and mental illness is estimated to account for 30 per cent of short and long term disability claims.

Because of the enormous impact psychological disorders have in the workplace with absenteeism, employee turnover, medication and sick leave, many employers and insurers have increased employee benefits for psychological services.

For example, Starbucks has increased benefits from $500 to $5,000 for these services and Manulife up to $10,000 for its employees -- recognizing the health and wellbeing of employees makes good business sense.

To raise awareness that effective psychological treatments exist for the vast majority of mental illnesses, BCPA is sponsoring Psychology Month, with a free public presentation series on various mental health topics throughout the month of February.

Each of the talks will be facilitated by a BCPA member with topics ranging from stress reduction and overcoming trauma and depression to attracting and holding on to love, as well as the psychological benefit of spending time with dogs.

This year, BCPA will be hosting select talks in Arabic, Punjabi and Cantonese to reach a wider audience. BCPA hopes the presentation series will bring greater awareness of mental health concerns including anxiety, depression, anger, stress and fear while providing information on where the public can access treatment.

"Psychological illness has a profound effect on everyone -- individuals, families, the workplace and the economy," says Dr. Marilyn Chotem, BC Psychological Association President. "Through our referral service, BCPA can help people directly or indirectly affected by mental illness to seek help. Our goal with Psychology Month is to encourage people to talk and think about their mental health, which is why we're pleased to also be offering free public talks in English, Punjabi, Cantonese and Arabic this year. We hope the free public presentation series in Vancouver, Surrey and Kelowna will open a dialogue across cultures and generations."

BCPA operates a province-wide free psychologist referral service. Patients can search for a Registered Psychologist by city, client type, area of practice, therapy method and language by visiting or by calling: 1-800-730-0522 or 604-730-0522.

The following talks are sponsored by BCPA (*in partnership with Vancouver Public Library)

Date & Time  Title  Location  Presenters
Feb 4 (10:30am - 12:30pm)  Stress and Coping (in Arabic)  VPL Kensington Branch*  Dr. Kasim Al-Mashat
Feb 6 (7pm - 8:30pm)  Overcoming Trauma  ORL (Kelowna Branch)  Dr. Kim Dawson
Feb 6 (7pm - 8:30pm)  Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction  Hillcrest Community Centre  Dr. Kasim Al- Mashat
Feb 7 (7pm - 8:30pm)
 Caregiving  Guildford Library  Dr. Rachel Mallory
Feb 9 (7pm - 8:30pm)  Love Actually - New Science to Enhance Communication and Closeness  VPL Central Branch*  Dr. Jennifer Pringle
Feb 16 (7pm - 8:30pm)
 General Mental Health and Wellbeing (Talk in English & Punjabi)  VPL South Hill Branch*  Dr. Amritpal Shergill
Dr. Kamaljit Sidhu
Feb 20 (7pm - 8pm)  The Single Biggest Cause of Mental Health Problems  ORL Kelowna Branch  Dr. Eric Kuelker
Feb 21 (6pm - 7:30pm)  Growth Attachment, Loss and Separation (in Cantonese)  VPL Renfrew Branch*  Dr. Audrey Ho
Feb 23 (6:30pm - 8:00pm)  General Mental Health and Wellbeing (Talk in English & Punjabi)  SPL Strawberry Hill Branch  Dr. Amritpal Shergill
Dr. Kamaljit Sidhu
Feb 23 (7pm - 8:30pm)  Mindfulness Based Stress reduction  VPL Central Branch*  Dr. Kassim Al-Mashat
Feb 23 (7pm - 8:30pm)  Beyond Judgement  VPL Kitsilano Branch*  Dr. Noah Susswein
Feb 27 (7pm - 8:30pm)  Psychological benefits of Spending Time With Dogs  ORL Kelowna Branch  Dr. Kim Dawson

For more detailed information on the free public presentation series for Psychology Month, please visit: or call 604-730-0501.

About BC Psychological Association

Established in 1938, the British Columbia Psychological Association (BCPA) and its members are committed to supporting the emotional health and psychological well-being of British Columbians. BCPA believes that all British Columbians deserve access to high-quality, clinically proven psychological care provided by Registered Psychologists.

Contact Information:

For more information, please contact:

Klaudia Budniak
Peak Communicators Ltd.
604 689-5559