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“It’s exciting for us,”: Crisis Centre for Northern BC to become service provider for new national suicide hotline

The Crisis Prevention Centre for Northern BC will be a partner and service provider for the 9-8-8 national suicide helpline that will go into effect on November 30th.

It was championed by Cariboo-Prince George Conservative MP Todd Doherty and was first approved in 2020.

Executive Director, Riley Skinner believes the new service will streamline support for those who need it most.

“Anything that lowers the barrier for people who are seeking help to connect with the helper is a good thing. Of course, there are a lot of different lines that provide support but if one line is more accessible or is easier to remember that is a win in my book.”

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“It is very exciting for us to be able to participate in the national suicide prevention service – we are already a partner of Talk Suicide, which is the existing national suicide prevention service, we have been (a partner) since 2019.”

Skinner added the crisis centre takes about 20-thousand calls a year.

About 50 responders help shape the service with roughly 30 to 35 of them paid staff.

He anticipates hiring and training more staff to keep up the excess demand that’s anticipated this winter.

“It’s hard to imagine what the magic number would be. At this time, we will really take as many responders as we can onboard – one of the biggest challenges for us is the commitment of onboarding. We put our responders through about 80 to 100 hours of training.”

The agency has been preparing for the past year for the eventual implementation of 9-8-8.

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