Crisis Centre of BC helps deliver care to youth in crisis ‘right now’
Submitted by Enbridge Inc.
Two teens are sitting outside their high school at lunch. One is having a tough time, feeling disconnected and hopeless.
The friend recognizes they need help. But in their rural community, in-person mental health services are hard to come by. They might need to wait weeks to see a professional, and the teen needs help now.
An idea comes to mind: they could call a crisis centre together.
That moment of identifying crisis intervention services is key, says Jeffrey Preiss, director of development and communications at the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of British Columbia.
“There comes a time for some folks where it's just too much, and the pain outweighs their ability to cope. That's when knowing about the crisis lines is really important,” he explains.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis centre saw an increase of 25% in the number of calls to its 24/7 emergency crisis care telephone line, which serves an area from the city of Vancouver in British Columbia’s southwest up the coast to the remote community of Bella Coola.
Not only did call volume increase but so did the length of calls and the need for suicide risk assessments.
“That’s a big shift,” Preiss says, and “we haven’t seen the increased volume go down.”
The Crisis Centre of BC is funded partly by the provincial government; donations from the community and grants from businesses and organizations make up the rest of the funding. The latter allows the non-profit to complement its call centre and online chat services with prevention work, such as workshops in schools and programs to help specific at-risk populations, such as youth aging out of care.
Through our Fueling Futures program, Enbridge is committed to building safe, vibrant and sustainable communities in the regions where we live and work. A recent $5,000 Fueling Futures grant will support the Crisis Centre of BC’s important work with youth, and help the centre improve services to rural areas.
“So many rural and remote communities don’t have access to hospitals or mental health clinics or mental health walk-in centres like urban centres do,” Preiss says. “We want to make sure youth in those communities have as many resources as they can to ensure their mental health is taken care of.”
To better reach these youth, the crisis centre developed MindFlip, an online app that teaches users brain science and skills for mental fitness—emotional regulation, self-awareness, self-compassion and mindfulness. The app was designed in collaboration with a group of teens.
With call volumes at an all-time high, the centre must balance the need for prevention work while also being there at the moment of need.
“It's absolutely a human connection that people are craving in that moment of crisis. They need to talk to another human,” Preiss says. “Our goal is to support youth and ensure they’re safe and have resources they need for right now.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, the Crisis Centre of BC encourages you to seek help.
Here are some warning signs:
In case of emergency, call 1-800-SUICIDE in British Columbia or the Talk Suicide Canada line, which operates across the country, at 1-833-456-4566.
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