April 17 Update: Distress Centre’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
On March 17th, for the safety of our staff and volunteers, we closed our office. Within a week, we mobilized 80 staff to continue 24 hour support to our community remotely from home. Altogether, we mobilized 115 staff to work remotely from home.
All of our services are still available by phone or online, including our crisis line, online chat, ConnecTeen, 211 and counselling services. We are continuing to put measures in place to ensure that continuous crisis and 211 support is available in the coming weeks and months so that we can maintain or even scale-up capacity according to need.
If someone is struggling with the situation and needs support, they can contact us by phone 24/7 at 403-266-4357 or by online chat available on our website. To make a phone counselling appointment, call the crisis line or submit an online intake form. To connect with other resources in Calgary, 211 is available by phone text and chat: www.ab.211.ca
COVID-19 has been a top issue on Distress Centre’s crisis and 211 contacts for the last four weeks. Our contact volumes have increased as well. The increase has mainly been seen in 211 contacts but we expect to see an increase in crisis contacts in the coming days and weeks once the general public has their basic needs met, and mental health, isolation and loneliness become more pressing concerns.
Many services in Alberta are changing rapidly in response to COVID-19 and therefore lists of resources become out-of-date quickly are generally not effective. We ask that you please encourage anyone needing information on resources to contact 211. We have a team working seven days a week to keep the 211 Community Resource Database up to date.
Contact Numbers/Statistics – April 5-11, 2020:
- COVID-19 remains the top issue on Distress Centre’s crisis and 211 contacts. In Week 11 (April 5 – 11), 29% of crisis contacts and 45% of 211 contacts were related to COVID-19.
211 contact volumes have increased by 40% compared to the same week last year.
- The number of high-risk crisis and 211 contacts have increased, and we have experienced an increase in the number of contacts requiring emergency intervention.
We have experienced a 22% increase in suicide related contacts
- As Calgarians continue to practice physical distancing, isolation/loneliness has climbed and become the top issue in crisis contacts, followed by feelings of anxiety. Family Relationships has also climbed and overtook feelings of depression as the third top issue
- Communicable Disease Control, Information Lines, and Information and Referral are currently the top needs on 211. Referrals and connections to Health Link-811 are captured under Information Lines
- Communicable Disease Control, Emergency Food and Administrative Entities are the top unmet needs on 211 in Week 11. Examples of Administrative Entities include: Government of Alberta – Ministry of Health, Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board
Diane Jones Konihowski,
Director, Fund Development & Communications:
About Distress Centre: Distress Centre Calgary (DCC) has provided 24 hour crisis support in Calgary and southern Alberta since 1970. We do this through our 24 hour crisis line, email, daily chat, and daily text for our youth. We also have professional counselling for clients with issues that cannot be resolved over the phone. If you need help finding a social, community or government service, 211 is available by phone and online chat. Our Coordinated Access and Assessment (CAA) program serves Calgarians experiencing homelessness out of the Safe Communities Opportunity and Resource Centre (SORCe). All of our services are free.