Jason Soul / Staff reporter

While people are going through hard times and stressing out because of the pandemic, it is important that there are places where they can easily reach out for help when they have any mental struggles. However, CBC news have recently reported that the Canada Suicide Prevention Service will not be able to turn into 3-digit hotline and would take more than a year.

The need of making existing crisis services easier to access has become especially important during the pandemic as people are experiencing great amount of distress. Nevertheless, the current dial number of Canada Suicide Prevention Service is 1-833-456-4566, which is quite complicated.

“When minutes count, help should only be three digits away,” said Todd Doherty, a Canadian politician who supports the idea of adopting a new number for Canada Suicide Prevention Service, reported by CBC news. “The government has to do everything in their power to work with the provinces to consolidate all of our national suicide hotlines into one easy-to-remember three-digit number, 9-8-8.”

Since the pandemic began and with the following worries and anxieties, more people have started to show symptoms of mental illness and have had suicidal thoughts. A survey of thousands of Canadians who had to quarantine because of COVID-19 shows that those who had to go through the period of self-isolation were twice as likely to experience suicidal thoughts.

“Others are providing care for loved ones at high risk. Individuals are often isolated from friends and family outside the home,” Nikki Young said, CEO of Catalyst Counseling Inc. “Essential workers may be facing heightened stress resulting from increased likelihood of exposure. Those working from home are likely to experience increased stress in managing work-life and home-life balance. Many parents are now taking on the role of teacher. The list goes on and on.”

Also, the research done in partnership with the UBC School of Nursing and the Canadian Mental Health Association have found that the mandatory self-isolation can have negative psychological side-effects.

The senior author Emily Jenkins, a nursing professor have reported that 11 per cent of people who had quarantined had had suicidal thoughts, compared to 5 per cent of those who never had to undergo isolation.

On top of the struggle of self-isolating, people are also dealing with financial issues and worries of uncertainty about their future as the world’s economy is collapsing and people are starting to lose jobs.

To prevent having suicidal thoughts, it is important for people to know where they can be helped and get advice on how to overcome the mental struggles.

The symptoms of suicide could be excessive sadness or moodiness, having sleeping problems, having changes in personality, showing self-harmful behaviour, and feeling a deeps sense hopelessness.

When the symptoms show, people shouldn’t try to manage suicidal thoughts or behaviour on their own. Instead, they need professional help and support to overcome the problems linked to suicidal thinking. The best ways to get immediate help is to call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service, reach out to a close friend or loved one, or call a local emergency number.