There's help for Interior residents seeking support for mental health through COVID-19 pandemic - InfoNews

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There's help for Interior residents seeking support for mental health through COVID-19 pandemic

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March 23, 2020 - 6:00 AM

The ongoing coronavirus situation is causing people to experience higher rates of stress and anxiety leading to one crisis phone line to brace itself for an influx of calls.

Interior Crisis Line Network - Vernon, is predicting call volumes to increase due to the impact of the ever-changing reactions to the COVID-19 outbreak. According to a media release from Interior Crisis Line Network, the organization normally receives around 700 calls a month and is expecting to see that number rise.

"While we must focus on remaining physically healthy, it is equally important to keep our mental health in check,” coordinator Emily Hollenbach said in the release.

The Crisis Line's message was echoed by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry who said in a press conference March 19, she is worried about the current situation.

"We know that when communities are in a crisis like this that in some place it exacerbates people's issues with substance abuse, it exacerbates domestic violence issues, it stretches relationships," Henry said. "If you are home with somebody for a period of time (and) you can't get out of your home, especially if there are children at home, we know there's a lot of anxiety."

Henry said she heard people talk about a "sense of fear" and it was very important for people to support each other, and if they need to — call a support line.

"It's so important to us to stay connected, and we don't have to be physically together to stay connected," she said.

Hollenbach said at times like these traditional and familiar coping skills may be difficult to draw upon as our community begins to isolate and urges anyone who needs to call to pick up the phone.

Interior Crisis Line Network reiterates their crisis phone lines are still open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it is not only for those in crisis, but it's open to anyone who needs additional mental health support at this time.

The line can be accessed 24/7 at 1-888-353-CARE (2273) or by online chat from Thursday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. through the chat link at

The Canadian Mental Health Association can be found here.

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