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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 communityresourcedatabase@distresscentre.com 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.