Help for Distress: Conversations with Susan Millar - March 31, 2021


Nobody questions that the pandemic restrictions have added new layers of stress to our lives. It may be isolation from friends and family, loss of economic stability, difficulties living with your whole family in a restricted space, worry about you or your family getting Covid, etc. Or it may be several layers of new stressors added on to your usual worries. They can lead you to feelings of being overwhelmed, perhaps even in a personal crisis, maybe with suicidal thoughts.

When things get bad, it's best to seek help. The Crisis Centre of BC is a good place to start. All you need to do is call 310-6789 and someone, who is well-trained in helping people defuse their crises, will talk to you until you feel calmer and more in control of your life. Feeling 'in control' is the first best step for feeling better, according to New Westminster's Stacy Ashton, Executive Director of the Crisis Centre of BC. You don't have to feel suicidal to make the call, but just call. It will help. You can also call 1-800-Suicide and the call will go the the Crisis Centre too.

As Stacy says, you might as well call the “Crisis Line” the “Overwhelm Line”. Typically, people have a few things in their lives that are making things difficult. But the pandemic, has for many, added those extra pressures that have made things extremely challenging. In essence, it can been the straw that breaks the camel's back, so to speak. Stacy says that their Crisis Line calls have increased by 30% or more in the last year.

The people who answer your call won't tell you what to do. What they will do is help you unpack your problems and think through possible solutions – so you are in control. They may help you to remember all the good things in your life, and all the people that you have in your corner. Creating a safety plan is also something that may help you create, if you are say, in a domestic abuse situation or thinking seriously of suicide.

Suicide is fairly rare, according to Stacy. It might be a hundred a year in our province of several million. But suicide is very significant, she stresses – the incredible loss of a life, and the pain for all those who love that person. As she says, the sad feelings can follow you throughout your life, although you are likely to experience many joys too.

The sad thing is that sometimes suicide is a miscalculation: Mom and Dad will be home soon, so I'll take a bottle of pills and they'll find me. Well, they may be late. It can also be a split second decision that wouldn't have been made on further reflection. Seek help, before things get really bad.

Those numbers again or: Crisis Line of BC - 310-6789 1-800-Suicide

by: Susan Millar

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