The government is investing on distress centres after surge in demand during COVID-19 pandemic
By Pedro Gandra
Since COVID-19 pandemic emerged, we have been put in a reality of social distance as a way of preventing the virus spread and infection. Many of us experienced a loop of emotions and events that certainly had an impact on our mental health.
According to a survey by the national statistics agency, Statistics Canada, one in three Canadians indicated that their mental health got worse during the pandemic. Therefore, distress centres across the country have seen an increase in their crisis services.
On last August 18th, Élisabeth Brière, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced an investment of $150,000 in support to Tel-Aid Montreal, that will improve their crisis line by recruiting new listeners, manage increasing demands, as well as providing training and better resources to meet the diverse needs from the callers.
“Distress centres such as Tel-Aide Montreal offer very important assistance to people, connecting them to appropriate support and resources that will have substantial benefits and help those in crisis. We want people to know that if they need help, they are not alone, and that there is support available to them”, points out Brière.
The funding is part of a $93 million investment first announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, to mental health initiatives, in which $50 million was provided to support distress centres. These funds will guarantee the expansion of virtual services within provinces and territories, especially among underserved communities, and ensure that people from across Canada can have access to mental health resources when they need.
“As with many mental support organizations, the last few years of the pandemic have been challenging for staff due to a greater need for listening to people in crisis, the management of more complex cases and the difficulty in recruiting volunteers. In a situation where the needs of the population at risk keep increasing, this investment will allow us to begin the sustainability of Tel-Aide Montréal through concrete actions to seek out new volunteers, train them and increase our retention rate.” claims Francine Courtois, Acting Director General of Tel-Aide Montreal.
The Public Health Agency continues to work with the Center for Addiction and Mental Health to bring awareness about risk factors and its possible consequences for mental health, by implementing the Talk Suicide Canada, that provides resources and crisis support over the phone 24/7 and text (evenings).
If you or a loved one is struggling, you can call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth).
Government of Canada invests in mental health and distress centres:
Facts about suicide: