Vancouver, BC – The weeks leading up to the end of the year can be difficult for many British Columbians. It’s a time of year that often puts extra pressure on us and can affect our mental health.
Over the holiday season, volunteer and staff crisis responders remain available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to support British Columbians who are having a tough time.
“Each of us approaches and experiences this time of year differently,” says Stacy Ashton, executive director of the Crisis Centre of BC. “It is not always the case that suicide rates increase over the winter holiday season, but the various celebrations happening can impact people in different ways, including bringing up family conflict, trauma, or coping with the death of a loved one who won’t be with us this year.”
A few tips for this season:
1) Know where to get help. If you or a loved one needs help, reach out:
- For immediate help, call 310-6789 (no area code required) to connect with crisis responders 24 hours a day
- If you are considering suicide or know someone who is, call 1800SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) province-wide 24 hours a day
- Connect with community resources such as the Canadian Mental Health Association in BC or a local Foundry (youth-focused)
2) Check in with your emotions. It’s normal to feel more emotional than usual with everything going on. Take time to take stock of your emotions and address them in a way that’s productive for you, such as journaling, talking to a loved one, finding an online group, or spending quiet time alone.
3) Avoid “doomscrolling”. Limit yourself to getting news from one or two reputable sources and set a timer, so you only spend 10 to 15 minutes at a time (ideally not before bed, and skip the comments).
4) Learn new skills to support your mental wellness. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, you may benefit from learning some new skills to help build resilience through programs such as the Crisis Centre of BC’s Resilience & Wellness Modules.
The Crisis Centre of BC, along with all the members of The BC Crisis Line Network, answer 1800SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) and 310Mental Health Support (310-6789). The Network comprises ten regional centres and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing lifesaving crisis intervention, suicide risk assessment, and strengths-based collaborative safety planning and follow-up to vulnerable British Columbians.
With the announcement of 988 earlier this year, there needs to be some clarification about what numbers British Columbians should call. The national 988 service will be launched in November 2023; it has yet to be made available. British Columbians should continue to call 1800SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) and 310Mental Health Support (310-6789).
The Crisis Centre of BC relies on donations from the community: people who understand the importance of hope when it seems nothing will ever get better.
Director of Development & Communications