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January 2021 Update: Distress Centre’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

January 2021 Update: Distress Centre’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

January 2021 Update: Distress Centre’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

January 26, 2021 marks one year since Distress Centre’s first documented COVID-19 related contact.

“Distress Centre staff and volunteers faced 2020 with a determination and strength I wouldn’t have imagined possible,” said Jerilyn Dressler, Executive Director. “Despite all of the challenges we faced as a global community, Distress Centre responders continued to answer calls for help 24 hours a day. I’m very proud of all this team has accomplished. I am especially proud that they were able to continue building a community of care, inside and outside of our agency, in the face of a global pandemic. As a community, we must continue to support one another and build each other up to ensure that help is available when it is needed.”

The  following report details the COVID-19 related crisis and 211 contacts responded to by Distress Centre Calgary, beginning January 26 through December 31, 2020:

  • The volume of high-risk contacts has increased.
  • We experienced a concerning 103% increase in suicide-related contacts in December 2020 compared to December 2019, and a 41% increase from January 26-December 31 compared to the same time period last year.
  • In December 2020, suicide was the 5th top issue on crisis contacts.
  • COVID-19 remains a top issue on Distress Centre’s 211 contacts.
  • In December, 23% of 211 contacts and 15% of crisis contacts were related to COVID-19.
  • Our contact volumes have increased as well. The increase is mainly being seen in 211 – we have experienced a 72% increase in 211 contacts from January 26-December 31 compared to the same time period last year and a 77% increase compared to December last year.
  • In December, COVID-19 was the 6th top issue on crisis contacts. The top issues on COVID-19 related crisis contacts were Isolation/Loneliness, Anxiety and Depressed Mood.
  • The top issues on all crisis contacts were Anxiety, Depressed Mood and Family Relationships.
  • In December, the top needs on COVID-19 related 211 contacts were Information Sources, Undesignated Temporary Financial Assistance and Communicable Disease Control.
  • The top needs on all 211 contacts were Information and Referral, Information Sources and Undesignated Temporary Financial Assistance.

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Up-to-date information is critical during rapidly changing times like these. If you are a community partner in the Calgary area and are modifying your services during the pandemic, please email [email protected] to have your information updated in the 211 database. We ask that you please encourage anyone needing information on resources to visit www.ab.211.ca or to call or text INFO to 2-1-1.

We encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about needs and unmet needs across the province to visit the 211 Alberta COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, Distress Centre Calgary would like to honour and acknowledge Moh’kinsstis, and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, as well as the Îyâxe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. Finally, we acknowledge all Nations – Indigenous and non – who live, work and play on this land, and who honour and celebrate this territory.