Local News

Distress line calls to FCSSGW have quadrupled since pandemic started

Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg

Photo by: Pxhere

The third Monday of January has always been dubbed “Blue Monday” which claims to be the most depressing day of the year.

Since the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020, calls to the distress line at Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph-Wellington (FCSSGW) have quadrupled.

Joanne Young Evans, executive director for FCSSGW said the distress line is a seven day a week operation, with phone lines open from 8 a.m. till 10 p.m. every day of the year.

“Those calls have gone to 400-500 a week, instead of 400-500 a month,” Young Evans said. “The calls are for stress, anxiety, trauma, suicidal ideation, and our trained volunteers and staff are doing a phenomenal job.”

Although today is “Blue Monday” Young Evans said December is the worst month because Christmas triggers people for a variety of reasons.

“January then is the aftermath of Christmas, and with the lockdown now it’s going to make it even busier, and I don’t even want to begin to predict the [amount of] calls,” she said.

Young Evans told 88.7 the River how people can help one another during this lockdown.

“You need to keep in contact with people as much as possible through telephone, through skyping, FaceTime, on Facebook, any way you can connect to social media, be in touch with those people who are alone, be in touch with those people who are isolated,” Young Evans said.

Young Evans said people need to continue to check on others and ask them how they’re doing.

“There are a number of resources in the community, not just ours, so really listen to what someone is saying, and if you think they need help then you need to get them help, or at least convince them they need to call someone,” she said.

She added that although their offices in Fergus, Mount Forest, and Harriston are closed for face-to-face meetings, people can still schedule a virtual one, and if they really need that human interaction they can see someone in person at their Guelph location.

The distress line number is 1-888-821-3760 and it is anonymous.