Saturday, July 20, 2024

Suicide crisis helpline ‘9-8-8’ launches nationwide with Quinte Health as key partner

Service launch photo: Jeny Xavier and Jennifer Fader, Crisis Counsellors; Lina Rinaldi, Quinte Health Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive; Tracey Giles, Quinte Health Program Director Maternal Child and Mental Health; Adam Bramburger, representing Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith; Neil Ellis, Belleville Mayor; Stacey Daub, Quinte Health President and CEO; Ryan Williams, Bay of Quinte MP; Stephanie Baptiste, 9-8-8 Responder; Lisa O’Toole, Quinte Health Board Chair; Stefan Arend, Quinte Health Interim Manager of ACTT and 9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Helpline Services. – Submitted photo

Yesterday (Nov. 30), Canada witnessed the official inauguration of a potentially crucial lifeline aimed at battling the pervasive issue of suicide across the nation.

The ‘9-8-8’ Suicide Crisis Helpline debuted, forging a significant partnership with Quinte Health in this initiative. Quinte Health’s responders stand prepared to field incoming 9-8-8 calls, extending vital support to individuals wrestling with thoughts of suicide or apprehensions about the well-being of someone they care about.

“An average of 4,500 Canadians succumb to suicide annually, transcending age and background,” remarked Ryan Williams, MP, Bay of Quinte. “The introduction of 9-8-8 as a three-digit lifeline offers immediate, interactive aid via phone and text across every province and territory. Prioritizing mental health support and counselling for everyone struggling is crucial.”

Todd Smith, Bay of Quinte MPP, added, “In times of crisis, knowing where to turn can be challenging. The new 9-8-8 phone line provides an immediate, easy-to-remember pathway to help.”

This collaborative effort brings together over 40 established local, provincial, territorial, and national crisis lines, with Quinte Health playing an instrumental role in this expansive network. The objective is to provide culturally sensitive, life-saving assistance to individuals reaching out through 9-8-8. Notably, despite the launch of 9-8-8, Quinte Health’s Crisis Intervention Centre (CIC) community mental health program remains resolute in its ongoing services. The integration of the 9-8-8 team with CIC is envisioned to foster mentorship and streamline referrals, while counselling services through referrals will cater exclusively to individuals within the Quinte Health service region.

At the heart of 9-8-8 lies a commitment to simplifying access to crucial support, ensuring individuals across Canada receive timely assistance, regardless of their location or identity. The helpline emphasizes the absence of a wrong way to seek help and assures the presence of empathetic support personnel, available whether through 9-8-8 or any other local or national crisis line.

Neil Ellis, Mayor of Belleville, expressed, “Today’s announcement signifies a significant move in the right direction, placing crucial services in the hands of frontline workers. Quinte Health’s initiative promises impactful community support.”

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