The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Interior Crisis Line Network Vernon site is open to anyone in need of mental health support amid social-distancing or self-isolation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (iStock photo)

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Interior Crisis Line Network Vernon site is open to anyone in need of mental health support amid social-distancing or self-isolation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (iStock photo)

Mental health as important as physical in COVID-19 crisis: CMHA Vernon

Crisis line phones and online chats open to anyone in need of support amid evolving pandemic

Anxiety and stress is high amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Vernon branch said, but the organization is no stranger to helping people manage their mental health.

On average, Vernon’s Interior Crisis Line Network (ICLN) answers around 700 calls a month, but it expects to see higher call volume in the days ahead as more in the community turn to self-isolation and social-distancing.

“While we must focus on remaining physically healthy, it is equally important to keep our mental health in check,” ICLN program co-ordinator Emily Hollenbach said.

The ICLN extended its “heartfelt gratitude” to its team of volunteers that have rallied and continue to show up for shifts and it said although precautions have been implemented, crisis line responders are still working around the clock to provide brief emotional support and resources to those who reach out.

“We are so blessed to have such a dedicated team,” Hollenback said. “Their level of commitment and compassion is admirable.”

The crisis line is open to anyone who needs additional mental health support and lines are open 24-7 at 1-888-353-2273. Individuals can also reach out online Thursday-Sundays between 5-9 p.m. through the chat link at interiorcrisisline.com.

READ MORE: Okanagan craft distillery looks to make hand sanitizer amid COVID-19 pandemic

READ MORE: Border between Canada and U.S. likely to close Friday night: Trudeau


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