When I visited the BC Crisis Centre’s website to post some information about their call service, I was so deeply moved by these testimonials, that I wanted to share. If you recognize anything of yourself in these stories, I hope this gathers you up in the knowledge that you’re not alone. Reach out.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE), or call your local crisis centre.
Language Service: Both of the 310-6789 and 1-800-SUICIDE phone lines are available in over 140 languages using a language service. Let us know which language you require, and we will try and provide an interpreter.
Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line: 604-872-3311
Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky: 1-866-661-3311
Seniors Distress Line: 604-872-1234
Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1am)
“Two weeks ago, I was in crisis.I called the Crisis Centre desperate for a voice, an ear and a shoulder to cry on. Mary gave me all of those things and listened to me patiently. When we hung up, I was exhausted. But I was hopeful and inspired. Over the next few days, I reached out for more help and called friends and family. That was two weeks ago. I’m now back on my feet, smiling, loving, and feeling loved. Depression is a devastating disease. It robs us of our humanity, intimacy and draws a dark, lonely shell around us. Happiness IS worth fighting for! Thank you!! I can think of nothing more valuable than the work you do. Two weeks ago I planned to kill myself. Thank you for being there for me. I will never forget you”
I called at 3am today, and spoke with a wonderful woman who really, deeply, helped me. I truly felt that I had nowhere else to turn, and now I don’t feel that way anymore. My partner said I should send you flowers, but of course we were both anonymous in this conversation. Anyways, instead of flowers I’m sending a note to express my gratitude, and to thank you for a very effective crisis line.
Paul* called the 1-800-SUICIDE hotline in tears. Last year, at the age of 37, he invested the majority of his savings in the stock market. In a few short months, he had lost almost everything. He was worried that his income, as high and as steady as it was, would not be enough to pay off his growing credit card debt and continue to make his mortgage payments.
Usually when things were rough, Paul turned to his friends and family. But lately he felt that he had been a burden to them and that they blamed him for his own financial mess. He felt guilty because his family had been relying on him, and he had let them down.
Paul felt like he had lost control over his finances, and his life. He was angry that nobody else seemed to understand how much pain he was in. “I just hate myself,” he said. “I might as well be dead.”
The volunteer listened to Paul, acknowledged his pain and then asked him what he was most proud of. He hesitated. After some thought, he said he was proud of his supportive friendships and that he was close to his family. He was proud of his successful career. As Paul took account of his accomplishments, he told the volunteer that he felt like he was thinking more clearly. He had been feeling suicidal, but now saw that he had the strength and the talent to make it through this. He agreed to the volunteer’s request that the Crisis Centre call him back the next day and that he would call back himself if he felt suicidal again.
Later that night, Paul called back and told another volunteer how happy he was with the support he got earlier that day.
“I’m so impressed with your service, and so thankful to have had someone help me get my thoughts together so I could see how much power I really have to make things better.”
When Helen* first called the Crisis Centre, she was feeling overwhelmed with all the health problems she was having, and was in a tremendous amount of physical and emotional pain. She was frustrated with her doctors and was having trouble navigating the healthcare system. She felt powerless and degraded.
Helen is in her eighties, lives by herself, and has recently lost many of her friends. She feels alone, and very scared to think about the future and all the surgeries and pain she is going to have to endure.Â She is also upset that her relationship with her son (who has schizophrenia) has disintegrated.
Helen was craving a connection with people, but feared that she would never be able to have it. “Tonight,” she said, “I just really need a hug.”
The volunteer taking this call showed Helen that he cared and that he was glad that Helen had called. At hearing this, Helen began to cry and said “I’m glad I called, too”.
Helen told the volunteer that she was thinking about suicide and had attempted it three times in the past. She did not want to die. Each of her previous attempts had been impulsive and aimed at ending her unbearable physical and emotional pain. The volunteer supported Helen through the exploration of her feelings, options and coping strategies. They agreed that Helen would call them back if she thought of hurting herself again, and the volunteer arranged for a follow-up call to be made to Helen the next day.
The next morning, when Helen connected with a different volunteer, she said:
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Last night was my first time calling the Crisis Centre and I was suicidal. I often have attacks without any warning and feel very depressed. You saved my life last night and I am so grateful to have access to a service like this one and caring people like you.”
*Names and some details have been edited to respect the privacy of the callers.