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‘Be present for each other’: Crisis Centre of BC encouraging community support during holidays

As we enter the weeks leading up to the holidays and the new year, the Crisis Centre of BC says many people need support as the time of year can affect their well-being.

The centre says many of the calls they receive around this time of year focus on issues of anxiety and social isolation.

Director of development and communications Jeffrey Preiss says the number of calls and suicides fluctuate every year under different circumstances.

“It really depends on what’s happening in the world and for people on that day,” said Preiss. “We don’t necessarily see year-after-year, an increase right around Christmas or New Year’s. Some years there are more calls, some years there are less.

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“All of it is situational depending on what individuals are going through in their own life journey that could lead them to a mental health crisis or having suicidal ideation.”

The crisis centre encourages you to check in with your emotions, and address them via journaling, talking to a loved one, talking with an online group or spending time alone depending on what works for you.

They also say to avoid “doomscrolling” – focusing on negative stressors on social media – to avoid more negative thoughts and emotions.

Preiss adds we need to pay attention to others’ emotions and actions to better help them out.

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“If you’re noticing in yourself, or in a friend, that they’re doing some behaviours that might be different,” said Preiss. “Maybe they don’t drink very often and all of a sudden they’re drinking heavily or using substances they don’t normally use.

“Perhaps they are giving you some clues that stuff’s not going well, so they might say things like ‘I just wish things would just end this week’.”

Preiss adds we need to watch out for others potentially going through a mental health crisis.

“Be present for each other, see each other as human beings that are on a journey and might have everyday human struggles,” said Preiss. “Name it if you see it. If you see a friend that you think is struggling, say ‘hey, it looks like you’re struggling today, what’s going on?’.”

Preiss encourages anyone going through a mental health crisis, to call 1-800-SUICIDE or 310-6789 to receive help from the crisis centre 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

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