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Where to find mental health support over the holidays

Q: A lot of services are closed over the holidays – what’s open when I need some mental health support at this time of year?
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Q: A lot of services are closed over the holidays – what’s open when I need some mental health support at this time of year?

A: The holidays can be a time of particular stress for so many reasons. Throw in COVID fatigue, Omicron and the recent disasters across our province and it doesn’t make it easier. It can be particularly challenging when the supports we usually rely upon are closed. Here is a mixed bag of mental health resources that may be helpful to you and yours over the holidays. Whether you are looking for a compassionate ear, feeling isolated or lost, or just need another human to talk to, these confidential resources are here for all of us. No concern is too small.  ***If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

The BC Crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-784-2433 for anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide or facing a crisis. They have access to interpreters in 140 languages, so ask for the language that you need. The crisis centre has other specific access lines, including the Online Chat Service for Youth: YouthInBC.com (noon to 1 a.m.) and the Online Chat Service for Adults: CrisisCentreChat.ca (noon to 1 a.m.).

The Hope for Wellness Helpline: This line offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. Call 1-855-242-3310, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or use the chat function at hopeforwellness.ca

The Seniors Distress Line is here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 604-872-1234 .

The Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 via phone call (1-800-668-6868) text (Text CONNECT to 686868 from anywhere in Canada, any time, about anything) or Facebook Messenger. For the Messenger link, there is button you can click at kidshelpphone.ca/urgent-help.

Foundry is another excellent mental health resource for youth and their caregivers. I first heard about it from one of our local youth outreach workers. Young people ages 12 to 24 and their caregivers can download Foundry’s app (foundrybc.ca/virtual/) in order to schedule virtual counselling appointments, find peer support, join a youth group or caregiver group or browse Foundry’s library of tools and resources. Theses service are available 1:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Monday to Sunday. As well, Foundry’s website (foundrybc.ca/get-support/phone-online-support) lists a bunch of all-hours mental health resources youth can access via phone/text/chat.

The BC Bereavement helpline is a place to go where trained volunteers can help you navigate loss of a loved one. Call the Helpline at 604-738-9950, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 1-877-779-2223 or email contact@bcbh.ca.

Locally, anyone identifying as a womxn (woman) who needs support of any kind, can call Community Services’ Yew Transition House Access Line 24/7 at 604-885-2944.

Q: If the Resource Centre is closed, is legal aid still open?

A: During the year, we help many people call legal aid to apply for free advice or representation. While we are closed over the holidays, the legal aid call centre is still available to accept your application for legal representation or advice.

Legal Aid’s Vancouver Call Center is open weekdays between Christmas and New Year’s Day aside from the stat holidays. Their regular hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The call centre will close at noon on Friday, Dec. 24, and reopen at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 29. It will be closed for the stat holiday on Monday, Jan. 3, and reopen Jan. 4 at 9 a.m.

Our Resource Centre offices are closed for the holidays until we reopen on Jan. 4 at 10 a.m. Thanks for your understanding.

For question about programs and services while we are away, BC 2-1-1 is a place to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s a free and confidential service where you can ask to be directed to anything, from seniors, youth or family services, to mental health resources to COVID-19 information. Just dial 2-1-1.

On behalf of the Resource Centre, we offer you warmth, compassion and the very best for the holiday season. We would love to connect with you in 2022.

Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub. The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Appointments are recommended to be sure we are available to help you. Drop-ins welcome. Contact us: help@resourcecentre.ca or 604-885-4088.