WHO do you talk to when you need to get outside your bubble? As we continue to take care of each other from a distance, mental health surveys tell us that loneliness is having an impact on our mental health, and loneliness can be a factor in suicidal thoughts and feelings, says the Crisis Centre of BC.
With World Suicide Prevention Day coming up on September 10, the Crisis Centre of BC wants everyone to know that they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As part of efforts to make sure people can reach out when and how they want to, the Crisis Centre commissioned two surveys from Insights West, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and again in August.
The surveys confirmed that British Columbians are experiencing mental health concerns, with Metro Vancouver showing the biggest drop in mental health: 28% more Vancouverites respondents marked their mental health as fair to poor now, compared to before the pandemic.
The Crisis Centre found old-fashioned phone calls matter to individuals and communities when reaching out to a crisis centre. Sixty-five per cent of people reported they would call when they needed to connect, and 72 per cent would use the phone to find out how to help someone they were worried about.
In an era where texting is everywhere, the Crisis Centre wanted to know why people in distress preferred phones. Reasons to call included: talking is quicker and easier than texting, you’re more likely to get an immediate response, you know you are talking to a real person, and you are confident you have the person’s full attention.
“Our voice communicates 80% of what we are trying to say, so hearing and being heard makes the sense of being connected to another person more real. I’m not surprised our phone service is the preferred option”, said Stacy Ashton, Executive Director of the Crisis Centre of BC.
“We also recognize that getting through a crisis is not a one size fits all type of solution, so we want to make sure we are there for you when and however you need us”, she remarked when asked about alternatives for connecting with a crisis centre.
Crisis Centre of BC staff and volunteers are trained to connect with people over the phone and through province-wide chat services that extend to the Yukon. With phone services being a preferred option, chat services are available if that’s your comfort zone. According to the survey, some reasons people choose text/online chat services are because it feels less intimidating, and protects you from being overheard.
If you or someone you know is struggling, especially with thoughts of suicide, the Crisis Center says it’s here for you. Reach it at:
- 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 1 a.m.)
- Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1 a.m.)