Calgary Distress Centre prepares for long-term flood effects
Centre has already seen a 38 per cent jump in calls since flooding hit Calgary last month
The Distress Centre in Calgary is recruiting more volunteers for its crisis line to help address an influx of calls from flood victims.
The centre has already seen a 38 per cent jump since floodwater ripped through many Calgary communities last month.
Executive director Joan Roy says most people called for practical advice on where to get help in the first few days.
"A few days later then we started to see the increase on the crisis lines and that's ... where people really started to feel the impact of the emotional aspect of what was going on for them," she said.
Roy says Calgary has never faced a crisis like this, so it's new territory for the centre as well.
Enmax donates $150K
"We're relying a lot on the experiences of other crisis centres across North America and what they usually see is the emotional support case goes on for a significant period of time," she said.
Roy says crisis centres in other North American cities found the emotional stress continued for months — and even years — after a natural disaster or traumatic event.
Donna Coutts has been a volunteer for seven years and thinks the worst of the flood stress is still to come.
"Right now they're really in shock and they're simply dealing with water, the mortgage company, their house," she said. "But then they get back in the home and now they have no money for the children's field trips."
Enmax has stepped in to help by donating $150,000 over three years toward the Distress Centre's volunteer program.