Calls to Ottawa Distress Centre's crisis line are up

Calls to the Ottawa Distress Centre's 24/7 crisis line are up some 15 per cent this year.

If the trend continues, the centre is expected to field some 50,000 calls in 2014.

Leslie Scott, the community relations coordinator with the Distress Centre, told CFRA the spike of more than 1,600 calls between January and March this year could be because more people are realizing the Distress Centre's 24-hour hotline is available.

She says over the past few weeks, they've received numerous calls from people having a hard time coping with the cold weather.

"We get calls regarding Seasonal Affective Disorder, mood disorders and people do talk about the weather when they call us, because it does play a huge factor in everyone's day-to-day lives," she said. "You get stuck in traffic waiting for cars to move in snowstorms, your car doesn't start in the morning because it's so cold. People are just so tired of hearing another snowstorm coming our way, tired of shovelling their driveways."

"It's just been non-stop this winter, so it's very understandable if people are calling us and do mention the weather when they're talking to us about what's going on in their lives," she added.

Scott said they generally see a higher number of calls between September and April; the centre gets about 117 calls per day, which works out to four or five per hour.

She said they need to fill some 1,600 shifts per month on the hotline and that they are always looking for more volunteers.

"We are 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so the need for volunteers is always there," said Scott. "Looking for volunteers is one of our top priorities, so we're always, always, always pushing for people to go on our website and research what it is like to be a volunteer here and apply."

The centre not only serves English-speaking people in Ottawa, but Gatineau and parts of Western Quebec as well.

Click here to visit the Ottawa Distress Centre's website.

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