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CONFIDENTIAL CHAT

June 19 Update: Distress Centre’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

On March 17, Distress Centre moved from operating entirely on premises to operating entirely remotely for the initial phase of its emergency operations with no disruption to Distress Centre’s services. Distress Centre’s COVID-19 Response Team and all staff and volunteers have demonstrated an exceptionally high-level of commitment and passion for serving people in crisis and adaptability and resiliency throughout the pandemic. There have been significant challenges supporting volunteers with responding remotely, and many staff are feeling isolated working from home and/or don’t have everything they need to work from home. Therefore, we have decided to enter Phase 1 of our Re-Entry Strategy.

In Phase 1, staff are still encouraged to work remotely and those who do come in do so on a team rotation schedule. Following the guidance from the Alberta Government, we have implemented policies and procedures to keep our staff and volunteers as safe as possible. The safety and wellness of staff, volunteers and clients is the top priority throughout all phases of re-entry. During this phase, our reception remains closed and outside visitors are not allowed at the office. We are prepared to re-exit if deemed the best course of action. During all phases of re-entry and possible re-exit, our 24/7 services will continue to be available to support our community. If you need help, please reach out.

Contact Numbers/Stats – Week 20 (June 6-13):

  • COVID-19 remains a top issue on Distress Centre’s 211 contacts. In Week 20, 15% of 211 contacts and 9% of crisis contacts were related to COVID-19.
  • Our contact volumes have increased as well. The increase is mainly being seen in 211 – we have experienced a 34.5% increase in 211 contacts from January 26-June 13 compared to the same time period last year.
  • In Week 20, COVID-19 was the ninth top issue on crisis contacts. The top issues on crisis contacts are now feelings of anxiety, depressed mood, and isolation/loneliness. It is notable that Family Relationships has risen to be the fourth top issue on crisis contacts, and Intimate Partner Relationships the fifth top issue. Anxiety was the top issue on COVID-19 related contacts in week 20.
  • In Week 20, the top needs on COVID-19 related 211 contacts were Medical Equipment/Supplies and Medical Equipment/Supplies, with Information and Referral and Communicable Disease Control tied for third. The top needs on all 211 contacts were Medical Equipment/Supplies, Information and Referral, and Information Sources.
  • In Week 20, the top unmet needs on COVID-19 related 211 contacts were Undesignated Temporary Financial Assistance and Medical Equipment/Supplies, with Information and Referral and Communicable Disease Control tied for third. The top unmet needs on all 211 contacts were Medical Equipment/Supplies, Undesignated Temporary Financial Assistance, and Information Sources. The significant spike in unmet needs related to Medical Equipment/Supplies is related to inquirers who are unable to use drive-through restaurants to obtain non-medical masks and were seeking mask delivery.
    • 211 is supporting Albertans in navigating where they can find and pick-up masks
    • 211 is currently collecting requests from Albertans who cannot get to a mask pick-up location
    • The top reasons for inquirers’ needs not being met were no program exists to meet the inquirer’s need inquirer refused referral, inquirer was not eligible for service inquirer, and inquirer refused referral.
  • The number of high-risk crisis and 211 contacts have increased.
  • This week, we experienced an 8% increase in suicide related contacts compared to the same week last year. We have experienced a 19.7% increase in suicide related contacts from January 26-June 6 compared to the same time period last year.

If you are a community partner in the Calgary area and are modifying your services during the pandemic, please email communityresourcedatabase@distresscentre.com to have your information updated in the 211 database. We encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about needs and unmet needs across the province to visit the 211 Alberta COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

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