“Crisis Line Awareness Week” is a BC initiative to recognize the work that crisis lines do in communities across the Province.
In 2019, the crisis and support lines received over 200,000 requests for support across Provincial and network lines, and yet, as a discrete and confidential service, the work they do rarely makes headlines or receives recognition. With over 200,000 requests for support from BC residents in 2019, these services form an indispensable safety net for communities across the Province. Crisis Line Awareness Week is an opportunity to recognise the significant contribution they make.
The role of the crisis line has evolved significantly in recent years. In addition to offering a safe and confidential place to talk through any issues or concern, crisis line responders undergo professional level training in crisis response, suicide prevention and intervention, and in some cases, are able to offer support through multiple channels, including chat and text. They offer training to first responders, support workers and community organizations, helping to build safe and supported communities.
Understanding the integrated role that crisis lines now play in the health care spectrum, the US Federal Communications Commission voted in December 2019 to approve a proposal to designate a three-digit number to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 988. The move recognizes the critical role crisis and distress lines play, and the need to have easy access to mental health and crisis support, as part of a comprehensive emergency response service. A voice is now building to put forward a similar proposal in Canada.
Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2017). BC’s 1-800SUICIDE support line (1-800-784-2433) responded to over 10,000 service users in 2019, and carried out 1,756 active rescues to secure the safety of people at risk of dying by suicide.
Recognition for the role that crisis lines play, and the fundamental need to adequately fund them to meet both the ever-increasing demand for support, and the ever-increasing complexity of the role itself, has never been more important. Crisis Line Awareness Week is an opportunity to reflect on how indispensable these services are in promoting safety and support in our BC communities.
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