For more than a decade crisis centres in BC have marked “Crisis Line Awareness Week”. Held in the last week of March, the initiative was created to raise awareness about the work that crisis lines do in communities across the Province.
Crisis Lines provide thousands of hours of emotional support and resource information to people in distress in our communities each year. They offer service 24/7 and deal with some of the toughest challenges people face – mental health issues, substance abuse, relationship problems, sexual assault, even suicidal ideation and intent.
In 2016, 800 crisis line workers across the Province responded to 130,000 calls for help. In 11,000 of these calls, suicide was identified as the presiding issue. 20,000 follow up and outreach calls were also made, and in some cases, interventions enacted if the safety of a caller was at risk.
One of the less well-known services that crisis centres provide to the community are the outreach programs and workshops that help to increase awareness on mental health and crisis support issues to law enforcement, health workers, schools, indigenous groups, and the general public.
As a discrete and confidential service, the work that crisis lines do rarely makes headlines, but they form an indispensable safety net for communities across the Province. Crisis Line Awareness Week is an opportunity to recognise the significant contribution they make.
To mark this year’s Crisis Line Awareness Week, Vancouver Island Crisis Society will hold a series of research-based information presentations on anxiety and self-injury of a non-suicidal nature in youth. To be held in Port Hardy (March 23), Nanaimo (March 28), and Victoria (March 30), participants will learn strategies for supporting young people who face these challenges.
Crisis centres in the Interior will be circulating 5,000 connection cards. These “take-one/share-one” cards not only spread a bit of inspiration with messages of affirmation but most importantly they carry contact information for the Interior Crisis Line Network. The cards will be distributed to CMHAs, Emergency Departments, coffee shops, bus terminals, Interior Health offices, Transition Houses, and community centres.
If you are concerned about suicide, either for yourself or someone you know, now is the time to reach out by calling 1-800-784-2433. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and supporting people in need in your community, contact CLABC at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local crisis centre. Details can be found on the CLABC website at http://www.crisislines.bc.ca
The Crisis Line Association of BC (CLABC) is the provincial association representing member crisis lines from across BC. The organization, formed in 1998, is dedicated to ensuring that every person in BC has access to the needed emotional support and critical services that crisis lines provide. CLABC developed two provincial networks: 1800SUICIDE and 310Mental Health Support, enhancing immediate access to 24-hour crisis line services for anyone at anytime from anywhere in BC.
For more information see http://www.crisislines.bc.ca or contact Jason Chare, CLABC Provincial Network Manager, at email@example.com