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Kelowna Community Resources adds texting service to crisis line

KCR Crisis Line adds texting service in order to encourage young people in distress to find support

For nearly 38 years, KCR Community Resources has been providing support to individuals in the community experiencing emotional or situational distress through the Interior Crisis Line Network. Now, for the first time, the crisis line is adding a texting line in order to encourage youth in distress to reach out for support in a way that speaks more to their generation.

“When a child or youth is in crisis, it is often difficult to talk about it or to say it out loud. Many young people find it easier to express their emotions through text,” said Christine Hawkins, Family Services Manager for KCR Community Rescources.

Adding a text line could encourage those ages 15 to 29 to use a form of communication that’s more familiar to them in order to reach out and get the help they need, providing another avenue with which they can access life-saving resources.

The expansion was made possible through the Kiwanis Legacy Fund provided by the KGH Foundation. KCR Community Rescources are expanding their operations and adding highly-trained volunteers to accommodate the ever-growing need for emotional support for those in distress.

“Part of the proceeds we received from the Kiwanis Legacy fund will go towards the next part, getting out to schools from junior high to senior high,” said Hawkins. “We know that texting is a preferred method for young people.”

“The funding came at just the right time,” said Hawkins. “There’s been an increase overall on the call line. Since the start of the pandemic, there’s been a 30% increase in calls, and not only that, calls are 30% longer in duration. There’s also been an increase in suicide related calls due to isolation.”

Volunteers with the Interior Crisis Line Network go through extensive training in order to not only create a safe space for distressed individuals, but to empower them and help ease them into a place where they feel secure. The service is easy to use both for all those in need.

“The texting service will increase supports to youth as they can initiate conversation in a form of communication they are quite comfortable with, and the crisis line responders will receive specialty training to respond to crisis situations in a texting format,” says Wendy Falkowski, Chair of the Kiwanis Legacy Fund Committee.

“Our responders will stay with them just on that one text. If they ever want to stop, it’s as easy as just texting stop. If they’d like to call instead, there is other support for them.”

If you are someone you know are experiencing thoughts of suicide or a mental health crisis, help is available. Call 833-456-4566 or connect with trained volunteers via text at 45645.

If you’re interested in becoming a highly-trained volunteer and help those in need, email or call 250-763-8008 (ext. 112)

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