Crisis line phones rang more than 40,000 times during 12 months of a COVID-19 pandemic, and the calls keep coming in.
Vancouver Island Crisis Society reported “record-setting” call volumes for the past year as it released some of its call statistics during Crisis Line Awareness Week, March 22-26.
About 41,000 crisis line calls were answered in 2020-21 on the region’s crisis lines and the the society projects that by the end of its fiscal year March 31, the final tally of interactions will represent a nine-per cent increase from the previous year. The press release from the society also reported 1,600 crisis chat and crisis text interactions, with 60 per cent of those interactions supporting children and teens under 18 years old.
Crisis calls on Vancouver Island led to 1,900 interventions with mental health crisis services, 59 contacts with the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development and 275 calls to 911.
“Crisis lines in general are definitely feeling an increase,” said Emily Post, community awareness coordinator with the society.
The society says interactions related to the COVID-19 pandemic made up 10 per cent of calls.
“If the individual specified that they were maybe feeling anxious, stressed, depressed or in other ways affected by COVID-19, then that would be an interaction that we noted would specifically be related to COVID-19,” Post said.
She thinks the pandemic impacted crisis service delivery in other ways, too. Certain non-profits or community services that relied on in-person staff support weren’t able to provide services virtually, and some permanently or temporarily closed.
“Community [organizations] offer a variety of supports to individuals in the community, [and] a lot of them do offer that emotional support,” Post said. “If there was, say, a service that offered in-person support and it’s no longer there, then that need remains. And I think we picked up a little bit of that.”
She said the society did a good job staying up-to-date on the changing availability and delivery of various resources and services during the pandemic.
The crisis society is presenting a one-hour Zoom workshop next month called ‘Filling up our resilience tanks: Recognizing and reducing underlying tensions in our daily lives.’ The society’s community education coordinator Lyndsay Wells will talk about resilience during the pandemic’s second year and beyond. The free workshop is April 15 at 11 a.m.; for more information, visit www.vicrisis.ca.
Post said the society is interested in connecting with potential volunteers prior to volunteer intakes in June and September. The non-profit always welcomes donations, which help the society maintain and expand services, and Post said this past year’s record-breaking crisis call volumes demonstrate the need on the Island.
“We’re so grateful for any community support in any way, shape or form,” she said.
For more information, visit www.vicrisis.ca. The Vancouver Island Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-494-3888.
Nearly four of 10 Canadians feeling loneliness or isolation because of COVID-19 https://t.co/yexkrv0f1P
— Nanaimo Bulletin (@NanaimoBulletin) March 23, 2021