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Fraser Health crisis line sees uptick in calls during holidays

Last Updated Dec 22, 2018 at 11:37 am PST

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SURREY (NEWS 1130) — The joys of the holiday season can make many people feel less than celebratory, and calls to a crisis line in our region over feelings of loneliness, isolation and anxiety go up this time of year.

Those feelings can come from difficulties like unemployment or estrangement from family, explains Fraser Health’s Chief Psychiatrist Anson Koo. Though there is a slight increase in calls during the holidays, Koo says the nature of calls is what is really significant by those who experience loneliness and despondency this time of year.

“The feelings that result from these kinds of losses in life can get really accentuated during Christmas time,” Koo says.

“It’s really because this time of year, social media, media, television, shows, everything is telling us that we should be feeling a certain way. We should be feeling happy, connected, positive, and for some people that is not the case.”

The Fraser Health Crisis Line operates 24/7 and people can call in if they are experience episodes of the above symptoms, and especially if the feelings are compounded by substance use. A press release says the health authority has boosted the number of volunteers who can assist people in getting the help they need.

“We see a range of mental health crises that we do and would at any other time of year, so we see people who are going through depression, who are having thoughts of suicide and harming themselves,” he adds. “Reach out to professionals, reach out to the crisis line. Go to your doctor.”

The number for the crisis line is 604-951-8855, or toll-free at 1-877-820-7444, and more information can be found on the Fraser Health website.

— with files from Alison Bailey and Sonia Aslam