By Jason McBain
Qualified BC Building Trades members can get counselling support even if they’re working in construction camps or living outside the Lower Mainland.
The Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan program is designed to provide mental health and substance use support to unionized trades workers in B.C. and Yukon Territory. One of the main services is one-on-one counselling with a registered master’s degree-level clinical counsellor. While many of our clients live in or near the Lower Mainland where our office is located and can attend counselling sessions in person, a large number of clients do not. In order to provide counselling services to as many people as we can, in as efficient and effective a way as possible, we use Skype for remote counselling appointments.
Skype video counselling, as well as other “tele-health” services, have exploded onto the health-care scene in recent years.
We are committed to providing innovative and equal care to all our clients whether they live in remote regions or have mobility issues and there is a growing body of research that shows that these services are effective. Skype counselling is also available when clients rotate back to camp jobs for a few weeks at a time. Among youth populations, “tele-health” has shown to be, in some cases, more effective than traditional services.
What does Skype counselling look like?
If you live or work outside of the Lower Mainland and wanted to access Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan’s services, including counselling over Skype video chat, you would give CIRP a call and speak with the case manager who would schedule an intake appointment and then walk you through the process of setting up a Skype account. Skype can be installed on a computer (with a webcam), laptop, tablet or smart phone. Once the program is installed and your account is set up, you would simply add your counsellor as a contact and make sure that the Skype program is open to receive a video call at the scheduled session time.
Before a Skype counselling session begins, the counsellor will ensure that he or she has recorded your location or address of where the session is taking place and checked your emergency contact on file. Your emergency contact should live within close driving or walking distance to your location. This is to ensure that a contact can be called to check on
you in person in the case of an emergency. After this initial safety check, Skype counselling sessions proceed in much the same way that an in-person counselling appointment would.
Video chat has a major advantage over telephone counselling because it allows both parties to see each other. Non-verbal cues like body language, eye contact, facial expression, etc., are very important in establishing a therapeutic relationship with your counsellor. Using Skype to provide these services allows CIRP to maximize the number of people that we are able to reach and, more importantly, provide our clients with a higher level of care than was possible using only a telephone. Many of our remote clients who have used telephone counselling in the past report feeling much more connected with and supported by their counsellor when the video component was introduced. Video chat is just one of the many ways that CIRP is working on expanding and improving our services to provide the best possible level of care to every single individual.
The Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan can be reached at (604) 521 – 8611 or 1 (888) 521 – 8611 or via email at [email protected]. We are able to provide in person, or remote video counselling to all eligible clients.