Riel Tate, 3, looks out the window of her family home on Fourth Avenue North in Williams Lake where she and her parents have created some signs responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Mental Health Association has seen a big increase in number of calls to its Interior crisis line. (Photo submitted)

Call volumes increase to CMHA Interior crisis line due to COVID-19

Call numbers have increased 25 per cent and growing

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, calls to the Interior Crisis Line Network have increased by 25 per cent and are growing.

“With more community resources closing due to COVID-19, the service is expecting the increased call volume to continue,” said Heather Silvester, manager of crisis and counselling at the branch in Williams Lake, adding CMHA plans to provide ongoing information to support the general public with such things as stress reduction, active listening and self-care planning.

Silvester said people are impacted with the unknowns around COVID-19 such as the stress of being quarantined, plus the other issues in life that prompt someone to call the crisis line don’t go away when there is a global health crisis and may even become worse because of it.

“We have an extraordinary group of crisis line responders — staff and volunteers— across the region who are pulling together to answer calls, de-escalate and direct only the most critical situations to emergency rooms.”

The Interior Crisis Line Network is working to keep its people safe and healthy while answering the growing number of requests for support on both their phone line 1-888-353-CARE, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and their chat service at interiorcrisisline.com from Thursday to Sunday 5 to 9 p.m.

Read more: Williams Lake child, adolescent psychiatrist shares ways to handle COVID-19 anxiety

“Support from the community so far has been wonderful,” said Michelle Nelmes, co-ordinator for the Kelowna site. “We’ve had people calling to see if they can help out on the lines which reflects the heart of the communities we serve.”

Crisis Line Responders complete a full screening and 40-plus hours of training and mentoring before supporting people, so though the general public can’t help out directly on the lines, there are other ways they can support the service.

One of those is in being patient if they can’t get through right away or if contacts are a bit shorter. Like other service providers, the Interior Crisis Line is being impacted by call volume and telecommunication issues as more people are online. They are asking people to be understanding.

If it’s not an emergency when they can’t get through, pause and try again. If it is an emergency, reach out directly to 911.

Anyone interested in volunteering, go to interiorcrisisline.com or call 1.250.398.8220, ext 2031 or 2032. There are five local crisis lines in the Interior region all funded by the Interior Health Authority.

Read more: Why you don’t know which B.C. city has COVID-19 cases: Interior Health explains


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirusmental health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD passes borrowing bylaw due to uncertainty with COVID-19 pandemic

‘We are not in a position that we need to borrow anything right now’: CRD CFO

Letter to the editor: Thank you to essential services personnel and politicians during COVID-19

Quesnel’s Brian Northup is happy to see political parties working together for the common good

COVID-19: Rocky Mountaineer to delay season

The popular luxury train has suspended operations through April due to COVID-19

WASHOUT: Slide at Soda Creek MacAlister Road makes road impassable

Next update on DriveBC is expected on Monday, March 30 at noon.

Quesnel’s new Digital Today team ready to offer free digital marketing support to businesses

Digital Today members have taken a 12-week Digital Marketing Bootcamp through Community Futures

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Most Read