Winnipeg crisis line seeing uptick in calls due to COVID-19 pandemic

A Winnipeg health centre is feeling the effects of COVID-19 — but on their clients’ mental health, not their physical wellbeing.

Calls to Klinic Community Health’s crisis line are up as many people struggle with anxiety and stress during the pandemic.

“We’ve noticed about a ten per cent increase in our calls,” Sandra Fotty, crisis program manager at Klinic, said.

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“People are talking about a lot of different things they’re finding distressing now — and some things that they might be distressed about already, but the COVID situation is just increasing that distress overall.”

“We can have a conversation about that and offer some support and offer some compassion and work together to try to look at different perspectives — that’s kind of what our role is.”

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READ MORE: Winnipeg’s Klinic health centre sees increase in calls related to coronavirus anxiety

Klinic’s crisis line is staffed by employees and volunteers trained to handle a variety of different counselling topics.

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“We call it a crisis line, and some people think that they have to be having a pretty significant crisis in order to reach out to us but that is not the case.”

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“We think that people should identify their own crisis and what that means to them, and if you feel like you need some support or someone to talk to, we are available 24 hours a day,” Fotty said.

Klinic’s crisis line is operational all day, seven days a week at 204-786-8686 or toll-free at 1-888-322-3019.

There is also a suicide prevention and support hotline at 1-877-435-7170.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Vital importance of physical distancing during COVID-19 pandemic
Vital importance of physical distancing during COVID-19 pandemic

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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