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Help lines inundated as anxiety over pandemic builds

Help lines inundated as anxiety over pandemic builds

The companies behind mental health hotlines in Ottawa say they’re seeing a dramatic boost in calls from individuals seeking comfort and guidance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Assistance lines in Ottawa are reporting a rising number of calls from individuals nervous about the coronavirus pandemic. (CBC)

The companies behind mental health hotlines in Ottawa state they’re seeing a remarkable increase in calls from people looking for convenience and advice during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Distress Centre of Ottawa and Area has actually seen a 30 per cent bump in call volume in current days, and interactions supervisor Leslie Scott stated about one-third of them are straight connected to stress and anxieties around COVID-19

” We’re seeing a great deal of calls can be found in that we have not seen prior to, so it makes for hectic phone lines for us,” Scott said.

Sahar Seif, a college student in environmental sustainability at the University of Ottawa, stated she waited 10 minutes to talk with someone on the distress line last week prior to quiting.

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Seif stated it’s a terrific service that she’s utilized before, but she couldn’t keep waiting. She stated she’s fortunate to have buddies and family she can turn to, however not everybody has that assistance system.

Scott stated some of the callers are stressed over losing their tasks and income, or are worried about loved ones. The majority of are fearful of the unknown, and about what will happen next.

” We’re simply talking with them about how they can cope, how can they get through, what options do they have, and dealing with them to get them through the next hour or day, and making certain they feel a bit better when they hang up,” Scott said.

Adapting to the new reality

The Youth Solutions Bureau (YSB) of Ottawa has its own crisis line, and executive director Joanne Lowe said there’s been a steady increase of calls and texts there, too.

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Lowe said the YSB is dealing with establishing secure video talks to be able to provide more assistance.

” We’re doing the really finest we that we can under pretty extreme scenarios,” she said.

It’s not simply kids, Lowe said: moms and dads who are having a difficult time cooped up inside with their children are reaching out, too, particularly those whose children have unique requirements.

The YSB is providing them with information from the Ontario Centre of Quality for Child and Youth Mental Health and Kid’s Mental Health Ontario to help them learn how to talk to their kids about COVID-19

Meeting the demand

Because distress line volunteers require 60 hours of training, Scott stated staffing to satisfy the increasing demand is a challenge.

” We just needed to cancel one of our training classes due to the fact that of social distancing,” she said.

Lowe stated they’re presently attempting to shuffle employees within the organization to fulfill the demand while continuing to provide important services to their clients.

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It’s the exact same image throughout the country. Emma Blanche, a volunteer with Kids Help Phone in Vancouver, said they’re likewise struggling to meet the need for volunteers.

She said while many callers don’t specifically mention COVID-19, the pandemic seems to be intensifying exisisting mental health concerns for some individuals, particularly those stuck in an unhealthy home environment.

” We’re hardly keeping up,” Blanche said.