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HomeNewsBasic needs, physical health and suicide calls on the rise during COVID-19

Basic needs, physical health and suicide calls on the rise during COVID-19

(Files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)

The Crisis Centre for Northern BC continues to see an increase in calls during the pandemic.

Last year, the Crisis Centre eclipsed over 10-thousand calls and it’s expected they will surpass that total this year.

Executive Director, Sandra Boulianne outlined the kind of calls they’ve been receiving…

“Basic needs, so people worried about housing, food, personal and internal conflict, anxieties on different things, physical health and suicide. What is down is abuse and violence when compared to March of last year.”

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“We are hearing from people that are feeling somewhat trapped because they are experiencing a new normal with social isolation and just the uncertainty. I think that people are already struggling with anxiety and worry and what do we see when we look at our phones the first thing in the morning? We see a whole bunch of news all about the COVID, all about the number of deaths from different places and the number of cases that are growing so it can be very stressful.”

Boulianne states some people in the north have the wrong idea on who actually uses the Crisis Line.

“A lot of people have the misconception that calling a hotline means ‘oh I just need to be suicidal’ and that’s not the case. People can be anything from simply worried about something, needing someone to talk to all the way down the spectrum to perhaps feeling suicidal.”

“Our most typical caller is someone that’s in their middle years, we have slightly more male callers than female callers, it’s pretty general and that’s because the is anonymous and confidential service so we don’t ask for peoples names or ages.”

The staff at the centre are adapting to social distancing themselves by working from home and taking calls via computer.

Boulianne reminds people to have a little extra patience when calling.

“It might take a few extra rings and that’s something we’re discovering just because of the shift of technology going through a server and we’re answering from our computers, we just want people not to give up and to be patient, we will pick up.”

She adds the Crisis Centre has experienced a 30% spike in calls since COVID-19.

The Northern BC Crisis Line is 1-250-563-1214 or toll-free at 1-888-562-1214.

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