All Interior Health residents now have around-the-clock access to toll-free telephone support when they need assistance managing personal concerns with the launch of an Interior Crisis Line Network.
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom announced today, on behalf of Health Minister Michael de Jong, the new toll-free number: 1 888 353-CARE (2273).
"Crisis lines can be an important community safety net," said Lake. "Crisis lines are often the first step people take to help them self-manage mental health, substance use and other personal issues."
The Interior Crisis Line Network was created with the assistance of the BC Crisis Line Association and the five Interior crisis line providers: the East Kootenay Crisis Line, the Kootenay Boundary Crisis Line, the Cariboo Chilcotin Crisis Line, the Kelowna Community Resource Centre and the North Okanagan PIN (People in Need) Crisis Line. Within the network, the five crisis lines are using the same protocols and tools to ensure callers receive a consistent level of support whether they are speaking to someone from a local crisis line or from another Interior-based crisis line.
"The crisis line is the result of community partners working together with a common goal," said Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger. "Families throughout Interior Health will directly benefit from the network of crisis line services as a result of the partnership of the crisis lines, Interior Health and the BC Crisis Line Association."
When a caller dials 1 888 353-CARE (2273) they will first be linked to a crisis line closest to them geographically, if that line is busy, the system will automatically route the call to another interior-based crisis line.
"An integrated Interior Crisis Line is the best approach to providing consistent and responsive crisis line support across the region," said Interior Health board chair Norman Embree. "The goal is to provide all residents with the support they need when they need it."
Crisis line workers are trained to support and guide callers through a variety of problems they may be facing such as depression, poverty, abuse or homelessness. All crisis line workers have access to a comprehensive database of community and emergency support services that are available in each area.
The Interior Crisis Line Network integrates evidence-based best practice from the provincial 1-800 SUICIDE line, other provincial crisis lines and the American Association of Suicidology.
"The Interior Crisis Line Network is manned by trained people who live in and understand the challenges, opportunities and culture of the Southern Interior," said Bryan Redford, IH West community director. "We've also worked closely with our Aboriginal Health Program to ensure that culturally appropriate intervention options are available and known to all crisis line workers."
"Each time I take a call," said Sandy, a crisis line worker, "I hear the difference having a safe place to call, to be heard, makes in people's lives. Crisis lines save lives for certain and they support people in making positive changes. That's what inspires me to volunteer."
The Interior Crisis Line Network received $74, 200 in one-time startup funding from Interior Health and will receive $437,000 in annualized funding.
Crisis Lines in B.C. provide over 3.7 million minutes of support each year. Someone reaches out to call their local crisis line every three minutes.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)
Interior Health Communications