Four Million Reasons Why

I read an article the other day whose title immediately caught my eye. It read:

4 million cries for help: Calls to Kids Help Phone soar amid pandemic.

As I continued on to read the body of the article my heart sank further. 

Since the onset of the Pandemic last March, Kids Help Phone has seen an upsurge in calls from young people. Statistics show that calls, texts and their many other online resources have more than doubled since the previous year and they are now receiving over 800 calls, texts etc. every day from all across Canada (with Ontario making up for approximately half of those calls received each day).

Callers have been as young as 5 years old with a good majority of the calls coming in between midnight and 4 am. Many of these call are related to feelings of isolation, loneliness, self/body image, virtual learning, missed milestones and an overall deterioration of their mental health. And of all the calls received by their large team of trained counsellors per day, there is at minimum, 10 calls where police are being dispatched for “active suicide rescues”. 

These stats are truly heartbreaking but I am so thankful at the same time that our youth have a safe place like Kids Help Phone to reach out to in order to help them survive a Pandemic. Knowing just how many of our young people have become so withdrawn, angry, frustrated, anxious and sad (and rightfully so) is beyond scary. 

I hear from speaking with so many concerned parents in my community (and beyond) how their kids are staying up all night gaming with friends online just to feel some sort of connection and how so many more have completely checked out from their daily routines, especially online learning. The concerns over the emotional and financial impacts that isolation and lockdowns are having on our youth are growing more and more concerning by the day and suicides among our youth are increasing at alarming rates. 

As spring quickly approaches, (at least according to Wiarton Willie, the adorable little Groundhog that is, who just yesterday predicted an early spring, yay), I had recently been giving a great deal of thought to starting another Graduation Initiative again this year for the Class of 2021. 

I will afterall in just two short months have another Graduate in my home, who as of yesterday received the disappointing news in an email from her University informing her (what we already knew in our hearts) that they will be postponing her Spring Convocation Ceremony until such time when large public gatherings can once again take place safely. 

I know how much disappointment, anger and sadness this reality caused my other daughter last spring when both her Prom and Graduation ceremony were cancelled, along with millions of other young people’s around the world but after reading the article and taking note of the imminent crisis our young people are facing due to the Pandemic I felt a great sense of pride knowing that the 10k that I along with the help of 100’s of incredibly generous and kindhearted people in and around my community helped raise and donate to Kids Help Phone last spring, that the money went to a very worthwhile cause.

I now feel as though I have at least 4 million more reasons to take on this initiative once again and who knows, maybe with the help of my amazing community we could double the amount of proceeds we raised last spring.

Services like Kids Help Phone are needed more than ever before and even though it may only be a stepping stone toward other resources or long term services for some, our young people deserve a fighting chance and are going to need all the help they can get long after the Pandemic is over because although many of the imminent issues at hand may one day dissipate, the lingering effects and fallout from the Pandemic are sadly going to affect much of our younger generations for many years to come.

If you or someone you know needs a safe and confidential place to start please call Kids Help Phone at: 1.800.668.6868 or text: 686868

#kidshelpphone #ouryouthmatter #helplines #lifelines #classof2021 #graduationday  #grads #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #yourmentalhealthmatters #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence 

Sorry I Didn’t Mean To Bother You

In all likelihood if you try calling me there’s a very good chance you’re gonna get my voicemail, that is of course unless you are one of my kids or my husband. They know that unless it’s an emergency, it’s best though to give me a warning signal by sending me a text first. 

I wrote a blog a couple of years ago titled “Call Me, Maybe” where I spoke about how making a phone call can cause me severe anxiety and how much more severe it becomes when my phone rings.

Here it is in case you missed it: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/call-me-maybe  

I much prefer to text, use Facebook messenger or even email with others unless I am in the right frame of mind to chat on the phone at that moment you call or I am prepared ahead of time to do so. 

I welcome texts and messages with wide open arms, I enjoy receiving your emojis and silly GIFs and I especially love the distraction late at night when my mind is spinning out of control. I truly appreciate every time you reach out to me “just because” you are thinking of me or you simply want to chat but much like making or receiving that anxiety provoking phone call, reaching out “just because” to my friends and family via text is just as overwhelming.

Like with most every aspect of my life, my anxiety causes me to worry; ALOT and it also causes me to have severe heart palpitations day in and day out, including when I reach out to others via text message etc just to simply say “hi”; and more often than not it will cause my mind to spin into a downward spiral.

What if I’m bothering them, what if I’m burdening them with my problems, what if they’re too busy to chat, what if they’re tired of hearing my negative thoughts, what if I’m just too exhausting for them, what if I say something wrong or embarrassing, what if they will judge me or what if they simply don’t want to hear from me?

I know that most of these worries and fears are just my anxiety talking down to me yet everytime I go to send someone a text message these thoughts overwhelm me and feel very real in the moment. 

The unknown possibilities are endless as to how someone will react when they receive a message from me and the guilt I feel for not being able to reach out more often is so unbearable at times. 

I know I have lost relationships because of my inability to reciprocate but sadly the deadly combination of having a depressed and anxious mind can do horrifying things to your self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence and I’m just so grateful to have an army of people behind me that aren’t keeping score as to who sent the last message. 

#callmemaybe #texting #myarmy #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #depression #anxiety 

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