In March, the lives of British Columbians changed. We were asked to “stay home” with self-isolation and quarantine recommendations issued for us to do our part in slowing down the spread of COVID-19.
By the very nature of a crisis, it often comes without warning. This unprecedented pandemic has led to many sudden changes and sudden losses in everyone’s lives. As people cope with these newfound challenges, overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can emerge.
From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Crisis Centre of BC was called on to do what they do best – respond to a crisis.
Engaging in crisis intervention and suicide prevention, the Crisis Centre’s staff and volunteers are trained to connect with people over the phone and through chat services that extend B.C.wide as well as to the Yukon.
Through their distress services program — which includes 24/7 distress phone lines and online chat services between 12 p.m. and 1 a.m. — immediate access to barrier-free, non-judgemental, and confidential emotional support through risk assessment, collaborative safety planning, and short-term follow-up is provided to youth, adults, and seniors.
In a single day, the Crisis Centre team receives approximately 300 call and chat requests from individuals in crisis. Clearly, there is great need and demand for these services through the B.C. and Yukon regions.
Throughout the pandemic, the Centre’s mission has remained the same — to foster and create compassionate, connected, suicide-safer communities; through their work, they aim to destigmatize and increase awareness of suicide and mental health and to maintain their commitment to the individuals and communities they serve. By responding to the call and chat requests received, the Crisis Centre is there when people need someone to talk to about situations fraught with change, uncertainty, and difficulty.
We don’t always know who the next person in crisis will be, but we do know they will need compassionate, thoughtful, and nuanced support in their moment of need.
With the holidays approaching, these support services will be needed even more. The Crisis Centre of BC is supported by donations, which go towards ensuring individuals in B.C. communities continue to have immediate access to the support and resources they need in times of crisis.
For more info, visit crisiscentre.bc.ca/donate.
Crisis Centre of BC. Photo: Oliver Wong for The Crisis Centre of BC.
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs someone to talk to, The Crisis Centre of BC is there for you and can be reached 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
Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky: 1-866-661-3311
For online chat services, see: