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Distress Centre reports 83 per cent increase in calls at end of August

Last Updated Sep 11, 2020 at 11:24 am MDT

(CREDIT: iStock Photo)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – There has been a shocking increase in the number of calls regarding suicide in Calgary.

The Distress Centre said more callers are expressing anxiety, depression and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jerilyn Dressler with the centre said while numbers have gone up the past few months, there was a major shift at the end of August.

“An 83 per cent increase in suicide-related contacts compared to the same two-week period the previous year. We are very concerned about what’s happening. We’re concerned about people who are having thoughts of suicide but at the same time, we’re pleased that people are reaching out for support.”

Dressler added some of the major concerns they’re hearing involve relationship issues and family trouble during the pandemic.

“We also are hearing from people who are struggling with relationship issues, with their kids, or the kids calling having issues with their parents.”

Generally, Dressler said call volume has been up 23.5 per cent during the course of the pandemic, indicating just how dramatic the 83 per cent increase is.
Despite the rise in calls, staff and volunteers at the Distress Centre continue to work around the clock.

Dressler added the community support has also helped them tremendously.

“We haven’t been struggling in responding to contacts and getting to those contacts. There are certainly times of high-volume, but on our crisis line, that really hasn’t been a significant concern. We’ve definitely had the capacity we need to get to the people who need our support.”

She encourages anyone who needs help or is concerned about someone else to reach out anytime through the website.