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)

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



news@wltribune.com

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

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

Mclean Silverton rides a rail in Boitanio Park - one of seven new features installed by the city this past week. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Snow park in Boitanio open for riding

If any users find that the park requires attention, please contact city hall at 250-392-2311

A snowfall warning has been issued for Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Black Press Media)
Snowfall warning issued for Cariboo region

Between 10 to 15 cm expected

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor (from left) Judy Gibbons and Rajneesh Khugsal, seen here in 2020, are all ready to help people file their taxes. (Patrick Davies photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake volunteers ready to offer community income tax program

Co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor said he has already received inquiries

Women’s Contact Society community liaison Eileen Alberton with her dogs Luigi, left, and Sami enjoys a daily walk in Big Lake. (Photo submitted)
Women’s wellness focus of International Women’s Day events in Williams Lake

In its third year, the event will be offered virtually

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read