Calls to the Trail division crisis line have increased 26 per cent – some months spiking as high as 45 per cent – since COVID-19 hit the province earlier this year.
Fallout from almost a year of pandemic impacts including shutdowns, restriction of services and ongoing isolation for so many, is “definitely” behind this alarming increase, says the Trail division’s crisis line coordinator.
“We are seeing an increase in both call volume and call intensity,” Sheila Dudek told the Trail Times. “People are definitely reaching out to self-manage their wellness around anxiety and depression as well as higher risk situations.”
Volunteers for the Trail division answer calls on the Interior Crisis Line and calls from the Interior on the two provincial services – the Mental Health Line, and the 1-800 Suicide line.
Over the past year, Interior Crisis Line workers have provided over 300,000 minutes of support, and close to two million minutes, or 23,000 annual calls, since the network launched in 2012.
“Because of this, we are always recruiting volunteers,” said Dudek. “Many volunteers say the training is really life-changing for them and volunteering on the line supports a deeper sense of meaning and connection in their life.”
In support of this critical service, Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation recently donated $10,000 to the Trail division crisis line which will help volunteers in continuing to provide this potentially life-saving service to residents in the city, the surrounding area, and the Interior Health region as a whole.
“The money that Trail received from Pacific Blue Cross will help, along with the donation from Trail Teck Operations, to be able to continue with overnight coverage,” said Dudek.
“If it wasn’t for these donations, the Trail division of the crisis line would not be able to provide coverage for overnights.”
Dudek says volunteers are still very much needed for weekends and evenings.
Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to call the Trail FAIR Society at 250.364.2326. Applications are also available online at www.trailfair.ca.
Training is offered throughout the year.
The Crisis Line is an essential phone-in service that offers information, resources, emotional and mental health support, as well as intervention when needed.
It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The Interior Crisis Line Network has five locations. Interior Health covers a vast region, so this network ensures that callers receive support from crisis line workers who understand the unique challenges and strengths of the area.
Call operators strive to answer every call, but there are times that the phone goes unanswered due to high call volume. With another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic beginning, and an increase in cases being reported throughout B.C., a donation from the Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation will help the Interior Crisis Line put staff in place to help with the anticipated additional call volume.
A B.C. research survey commissioned by Pacific Blue Cross has revealed 50 percent of British Columbians have difficulty accessing the care they need. And while 37 percent of are depressed or anxious, just 15 percent seek counselling support.
If you are in crisis please call the West Kootenay Boundary Region Crisis Line at 1.888.353.2273, or the B.C. Crisis Line at 1.800.SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433).
There is also the Mental Health Line at 250.310.6789, and the chat service is available Thursday to Sunday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
About Interior Crisis Line (Trail division):
Trail FAIR Society is a founding partner in the innovative Interior Crisis Line Network which provides evidence-based, empowering emotional support, crisis de-escalation, assessment and intervention for people in Trail, the surrounding area and the Interior Health region as a whole. The network has provided over two million minutes of support since its inception in February 2012.
About Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation:
The Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation provides support for community organizations that help improve outcomes in the areas of chronic disease and mental illness. Annually, Pacific Blue Cross allocates an endowment to its health foundation to support programs that are making a difference in communities where we live, work and play.