The Calgary Distress Centre says it's receiving more calls from people seeking mental health assistance since the murder-suicide of five people in a northwest home last month.
The centre, which provides crisis intervention, public education and professional counseling, said its calls have gone up by 10 per cent, or an extra 30 calls a day.
Joshua Lall killed his wife, Alison, two of their daughters, Kristen, 5, and Rochelle, 3, and Amber Bowerman, a journalist renting the family's basement suite, before taking his own life May 27 in their Dalhousie home.
'It scared a lot of people. It made them start considering and reflecting on what was going on in their own lives.' —Michelle Wickerson, Calgary Distress Centre
Police said Joshua Lall was found lying on the floor of a nursery, next to a crib holding his one-year-old daughter, Anna, who was unharmed.
Friends and relatives have said that Lall, an intern architect, had been under stress as he prepared for his accreditation exams to be registered as a professional architect.
"It scared a lot of people," said centre spokeswoman Michelle Wickerson. "It made them start considering and reflecting on what was going on in their own lives, so people with concerns about their own mental health, about a family member or a friend's mental health were calling in asking questions on where to get help."
She said she expects another spike in calls when a public memorial is held in Calgary for the Lall family on June 19 at 1 p.m. MT at the Centre Street Church.
Wickerson says the centre is able to put people — many suffering from depression or anxiety — in touch with counselling and other services.
Calgary Distress Centre
24-hour crisis and addictions line
"The earlier we get to intervene, the more likely we're going to be able to help somebody find a positive outcome and before it gets to a really damaging situation," said Wickerson.
"They're recognizing there is something they can do, that there is another alternative for them."
Psychologist Michael Maclean, who specializes in anxiety disorders, said he didn't receive more calls after the slayings, but many of his patients talked about it during their sessions.
"When we see something like this on the news, something as horrific as this, where there seems to be no explanation for it, I think a lot of people get more anxious because they think what if: what if I could, what if something in me is hiding underneath there, what if I could snap."
But Maclean pointed out studies show people with obsessive-compulsive disorders tend to be cautious people who would never act on their thoughts.