The British Columbia Nurses Union (BCNU) is shedding light on the challenges faced by those working in healthcare, and hopes to increase awareness and support for the mental health of BC’s nurses with its Help BC Nurses campaign.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the physical and mental wellbeing of nurses all over the world, from managing the stress of increased emergency room traffic, to long hours wearing multiple layers of personal protective equipment such as masks and face shields.

BCNU says these stressors, along with the province-wide nurse shortage, are too much for the province’s healthcare workforce to bear. The union says 68% of nurses staffing was inadequate over the last three months in a fall 2021 report.

“The current situation in our healthcare system is truly heartbreaking,” said BCNU President Aman Grewal in a recent press release.

“More than three-quarters of nurses have told us their mental health has worsened during the pandemic; and over half have stated their physical health has deteriorated as well. Our government must prioritize the well-being of our nurses. The future of our provincial health care system depends on it.”

The Help BC Nurses campaign runs until May 16 on television, social media, and digital platforms across the province. The campaign hopes to rally support for nurses and encourage community members to engage their elected representatives via email on pressing healthcare issues, such as the mental health of nurses declining due to high stress levels.

“Our nurses have been working tirelessly to provide patient care at the expense of their own health. It’s time that nurses receive the support and resources they require before more of them reach their breaking point.”

Nurses across Canada are leaving the profession at higher than ever rates, and BC is no exception. Facing multiple health crises simultaneously, such as the overdose crises and COVID-19 pandemic, has taken its toll on nurses in BC, according to BCNU.

The union says its members are increasingly concerned about deteriorating working conditions, and cites nurse retention in healthcare jobs as a main concern for the future of the healthcare system. BCNU says 35% of all nurses said that the experience of the pandemic made them more likely to leave nursing in the next two years, and 82% say their mental health has worsened during the pandemic.

The Province of BC addressed the struggle of BC nurses in announcing new support for internationally educated nurses in April of 2022, and 602 new nursing seats being added to public post-secondary institutions throughout BC in February 2022.

The Province sayid in a recent press release it hopes to address the nursing shortage and alleviate the pressure off of BC healthcare workers and nurses and promote careers in the field.

Those working in healthcare who require mental health support can contact Care to Speak, a non-profit providing confidential and non-judgmental mental health support, at 1-866-802-7337 (PEER).

For more information on the BCNU Help BC Nurses campaign, visit