Media Advisory – Crisis Line Awareness Week
March 22-26, 2021
Recent research, supported by the Crisis Centre of BC, has found a clear relationship between crisis centre contact frequency and the prevalence of COVID-19 in British Columbia. The findings are based on over 72,000 contacts made to The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC and reveals the long-term issue of how crisis centre contacts have outpaced population growth significantly over a ten-year span.
Crisis Line Awareness Week takes place March 22-26, 2021.
COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we work, socialize, and carry out our daily lives. As a result, more people report struggling with impacts on their mental health and are reaching out for help to mental health services. Our openness about the challenges of life during a pandemic helps normalize mental health issues and is de-stigmatizing getting support outside our friends and families. More people are willing to call the crisis lines, and ensuring 24/7 access to emotional and mental health support is key to handling the stresses of re-transitioning to a post-vaccine world.
As a reflection of public health and wellbeing, crisis centre contacts have not been fully explored. These services are provided by non-profit organizations which are often focused on getting the work done instead of research. Moreover, crisis centres have been underfunded and under-resourced, with demand for immediate emotional support far outstripping budgets. In part, this can be attributed to a perception that crisis lines are optional – not “real” mental health care.
In particular, the research found that Crisis Centre of BC contacts have increased significantly since February 2020 and have remained 20-30 per cent elevated since that time. This coincides directly with the initial detection of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia. 2020 as a whole saw average contacts increase 25.5 per cent over 2019 contacts.
Crisis centres have a clear role to play in managing mental health impacts. British Columbians are already turning to crisis centres as a preferred place for support. All that is needed is to make sure they have the capacity to meet the growing demand.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call:
- Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line: 604-872-3311
- Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
- Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
- Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
- Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1am)
Stacy Ashton, Executive Director
Jeffrey Preiss, Director, Development and Communications
The Crisis Centre of BC is dedicated to providing help and hope to individuals, organizations, and communities.
- Immediate access to barrier-free, non-judgemental, confidential support and follow-up through our 24/7 phone lines and online services.
- Education and training programs that promote mental wellness and equip schools, organizations and communities to assist people at risk of suicide.