By Janice Breck
For more than a decade crisis centres in B.C. 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.
A total of 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.
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 recognize the significant contribution they make.
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.
To mark this year’s Crisis Line Awareness Week, the Crisis Line in Williams Lake, (part of the Interior Crisis Line Network), will have an information table set up at Save-On-Foods on Monday, March 27 and at Walmart on Tuesday, March 28.
We will be starting the next Crisis Line training on April 24, 2017. The training will be on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. until May 31, 2017.
If you, or someone you know is interested in volunteering on the Crisis Line, please call Janice at 250-398-8220 ext. 2040 or Heather at 250-398-8220 ext 2031, or stop by Canadian Mental Health Association office at 51 Fourth Ave. South to pick up an application form.
Editors Note: Janice Breck is the crisis and counselling program manager at the Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo Chilcotin Branch.