EVER notice how the holiday season starts a little earlier each year? From Black Friday sales that start on Thursday, to holiday music on the radio the morning after Halloween, the stress that often accompanies this time of year can creep up on those who experience mental health and substance use challenges during the holiday season. The good news is that help is just a phone call away.
The 24/7 Fraser Health Crisis Line (604-951-8855 or toll-free at 1-877-820–7444 ) provides immediate, free and anonymous emotional support, crisis intervention and community resource information to people of all ages, 24 hours a day, every day.
“During the holidays, we usually see an uptick in calls related to depression or anxiety, often associated with an increase in isolation. We also have people who are worried about being able to afford gifts for their kids, or wonder how they’re going to survive their first Christmas without their loved one,” said Dr. Anson Koo, program medical director of mental health and substance use at Fraser Health.
“For some people, these stressors can intensify an existing mental health or substance use concern during a particularly difficult time of year, which is why we encourage any person feeling overwhelmed to call the crisis line if they need support.”
When they are in crisis, people of all ages are encouraged to call the Fraser Health Crisis Line. This includes suicidal thoughts or feelings, mental health problems, substance use issues, family violence, abuse, relationship conflicts, loss, or just plain loneliness.
Earlier this year, Fraser Health bolstered the crisis line to create an immediate access point for people who are in urgent need of support related to their substance use. If a person calls the line, a trained volunteer on the other end will help identify their needs, connect them to appropriate services, and help refer them to other resources as necessary.
Since the crisis line was expanded from focusing on mental health concerns to include substance use, it has taken 628 calls (from April 1 to October 31, 2018) to support people with urgent substance use concerns.