Front Burner

Night shift at the crisis line

From callers struggling with isolation, lost jobs, mental health concerns and suicidal thoughts, the Crisis Centre of BC — like its counterparts across the country — is dealing with a spike in call volume since the pandemic began. Today, we shadow two crisis line workers on a shift there.
A volunteer takes a call at the Crisis Centre B.C at their office in Vancouver on Oct. 21, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Suicide prevention lines are dealing with an enormous surge in calls, and crisis centres say COVID-19 is to blame. Crisis Services Canada says that calls between August and October increased 159 per cent compared to last year. That surge is being felt at distress centres across the country, including at the Crisis Centre of BC.

Front Burner producer Elaine Chau takes us there and talks to two people who are working directly with people in crisis.

Where to get help:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 (Phone) | 45645 (Text, 4 p.m. to midnight ET only) |