The heat is affecting the mental health of BCers.
One way that has manifested is through an increase of calls made the BC Crisis line. They’ve seen increases between 10 to 25 per cent depending on the intensity and severity of the situation.
Asha Croggan of the BC Crisis Line Network says calls definitely increase during heatwaves.
“We saw an increase last year during the heat dome and the devastating wildfires, and we are seeing it happen again this year,” says Croggan. “This is in addition to the increased call volume and complexity of calls since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The added stresses that come with these weather situations can exacerbate an already tense mental state and can be the tipping point in a person’s well-being.
“People feel more isolated, anxious, and overwhelmed. They’re feeling frayed, and climate change issues feel so much bigger than what they can take on, so their resources and coping strategies are shrinking, and relationships are feeling the strain,” says Croggan. “The biggest resource crisis lines provide is listening, which might seem passive but being truly heard can de-escalate the situation.”
Crisis line staff also face pressure with the increased number of calls, but they have their own supports available within the agency to keep them well.
Especially in the warm weather conditions, Croggan says they are always ready to accept more calls.
“There are many reasons why people reach out to crisis lines – we’re always grateful that they do.”
If you are ever needing urgent mental health support, you can reach the BC Crisis Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-SUICIDE. (1-800-784-2433)