Reaction continues to pour in as Canada’s three-digit national suicide hotline 9-8-8 goes live tomorrow (Thursday).
It was championed by the Cariboo-Prince George Conservative MP Todd Doherty.
Riley Skinner with the Crisis Centre for Northern BC told MyPGNow.com that the new service will break down more barriers for people seeking help for suicide.
“I think the number one thing is it’s accessibility. These services are the lowest barrier for mental health supports available and anything that we can do to make them more accessible for people is a good thing and a step in the right direction.”
Shirley Hogan with the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Northern BC branch in PG stated while the new service won’t ease the workload it will provide another outlet for those in our region who are seeking help.
“I think it will certainly help in the work that we are already doing for our staff and for anybody who feels they have a bit more confidence in ensuring that people have a reliable 24-hour resource that they can access.”
Hogan added the distance between communities in the north can make accessing resources a challenge at the best of times, so this new three-digit service should fill a void.
“We know that the isolation in the north makes it not only difficult to find resources but it can actually increase the risk of suicide. Any extra resource that we have has the potential to have an impact on our northern region.”
“Sometimes when people are in a great deal of distress or they are thinking about suicide it can be already really difficult to reach out for help and when we make that help in any way complicated it can be so overwhelming to figure it out.”
Much like mental health and addictions, suicide touches the lives of others in some way or another.
“Suicide is already huge. Many, many people have thoughts of suicide at any given time and many, many people already know someone who has at one point in time contemplated suicide or people who have done it. We don’t tend to talk about suicide very often but is something a lot of people experience,” added Hogan.
The Crisis Centre says about 40% of their call volume revolves around suicide.