An Abbotsford-based helpline reports that the number one reason people call is in relation to family estrangement followed by mental-health issues such as depression and stress.
“Unfortunately, taken together, these twin struggles can lead to a dead-end for dialogue for some people who seek help,” said Bill Strom, executive director of the Telecare Crisis and Caring Line.
“We know that talking about our mental health can begin meaningful dialogue. However, if mental health is brought on by conflict at home, opening up there might be unlikely or unfruitful.”
Proportionately, over half the calls to Telecare regard relational problems with loved ones and friends.
Strom said more than half of their callers live alone, and 75 per cent of them are separated or divorced.
“This means they have no one to turn to in the household. Even if they wish to talk about mental health, no one is there to listen,” he said.
Strom said these patterns underscore the role that helplines play to support people struggling with mental health. Even people under the care of psychiatrists and counseling psychologists phone call centres between health professional appointments, he said.
Telecare is one of 10 helplines in B.C. that make up the Crisis Line Association of British Columbia (crisislines.bc.ca).
Crisis line listeners do not offer counselling but provide empathetic support for callers and help them think through their problems and possible solutions. Other times callers just need to vent.
“We sometimes label what we do as ‘telephone befriending’ because what callers really crave is a trustworthy friend,” Strom said.
Telecare is a faith-based ministry where callers may request prayer if they wish. The centre receives calls from people of diverse backgrounds and creeds and can be reached province wide at 1-888-852-9099.