Who do you talk to when you need to get outside your bubble?
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.
With World Suicide Prevention Day coming up on Sept. 10, the Crisis Centre of B.C. wants everyone to know that it’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Crisis Centre commissioned two surveys from Insights West, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and again in August.
A press release from the Crisis Centre notes those 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 surveys found that old-fashioned phone calls matter to individuals and communities when reaching out to a crisis centre. 65% of people reported they would call when they needed to connect, and 72% 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. Among the reasons found in the survey: 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 B.C., in the release. “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.”
Crisis Centre of B.C. staff and volunteers are trained to connect with people over the phone and through provincewide chat services that extend to Yukon residents. With phone services being a preferred option, chat services are also available for those who prefer that method of communication. According to the surveys, 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 Centre can be reached immediately.
Here are some ways to reach out:
- Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line: 604-872-3311
- Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
- Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789 (no area code)
- 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.)