Crisis Line Awareness Week 2021
“Crisis Line Awareness Week” is a BC initiative that recognizes the important role that crisis lines play in offering a safety net to communities across the Province. Available 24/7/365, these local centres offer crisis intervention and suicide prevention support, free of charge.
2020 was a year in which the indispensable role the crisis lines play became ever more evident. As the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic took hold, demand for support increased significantly across local and Provincial lines.
Between April and September 2020:
· 1800SUICIDE - answered 17% more interactions than the same period in the previous year.
· 310Mental health Support - answered 32% more interactions than the same period in 2019.
In order to continue providing 24/7 support throughout the pandemic, the crisis lines faced considerable increases in operational costs and the fact that they were able to increase the level of interactions answered, speaks to their determination and dedication.
Among the concerns commonly mentioned by service users during the pandemic were anxiety about physical health (both for the callers and their close relatives/friends), increased stress due to isolation and quarantine, and fears about employment and loss of income.
Crisis lines offer a confidential service and help-seekers rarely speak out about having called a crisis line. However, recognition of the role that crisis lines play, and the fundamental need to adequately fund them, has never been more important.
A motion put forward by Conservative MP Todd Doherty on December 11, 2020, called on the government to “take immediate action in collaboration with our provinces to establish a National Suicide Prevention hotline that consolidates all suicide crisis numbers into one easy-to-remember three digit 9-8-8 hotline that is accessible to all Canadians.” The motion passed unanimously.
Doherty, who lost his best friend to suicide at the age of 14, said the grief from that loss remains with him to this day. "We can leave a legacy of action by breaking the stigma associated with mental illness and mental injury and eliminating unnecessary barriers for Canadians who choose to seek help," he said.
This move is an endorsement of the role crisis lines play in our communities and a call to action to ensure that an adequately and equitably funded network of crisis centres are in place to support the proposal.
During Crisis Line Awareness Week, we have the opportunity to reflect on how indispensable crisis lines 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.
About Crisis Line Awareness Week
Held in the last week of March each year, “Crisis Line Awareness Week” is a BC initiative to recognize the work that crisis lines do in communities across the Province. For details of events happening at your local crisis centre to mark Crisis Line Awareness Week, see the CLABC Members contact list on the CLABC website