The Your Support Services Network has partnered with the 988 network to bring a new national suicide crisis hotline to local residents.
Since 1999, Your Support Services Network has provided community crisis response to individuals in York Region, South Simcoe and North York, and this three-digit helpline will ensure they can continue to support those in crisis in a swift manner.
The helpline will provide urgent, live support by phone and text to people in every province and territory across the country.
Your Support Services Network is one of 17 agencies in Ontario and one of 40 crisis lines across Canada providing support to people who call 988.
Kimberly Thorn, executive director of Aurora-based Your Support Services Network, said the suicide helpline is a major step in providing at-the-ready supports for people who feel they are out of options "and will no doubt make a real difference in the lives of Canadians.”
“It is so important that people can access help when and where they need it,” she said.
The 988 network is funded by the federal government and responders are available 24/7 to listen and provide help without judgment in English and French to anyone thinking about suicide, or who is worried about someone they know.
Responders work with callers and texters to find ways to cope when things feel overwhelming and help them find a path to safety, according to a news release.
Thorn said that Your Support Services Network’s crisis program served just under 20,000 community members last year.
“An all-time high that continues to gain momentum,” she said. “Community support has increasingly become a lifeline to people and families who are in need.”
An average of 4,500 people across Canada die by suicide each year – approximately 12 people per day, according to the news release.
“988 aims to prevent suicide by making it as simple as possible for people to get the support they need, when they need it, no matter who they are or where they are within Canada,” the news release said. “No one who reaches out to 988 will be turned away. You are not alone.”
Your Support Network works to help those who are feeling depressed, distressed, lonely, anxious, scared, angry, having thoughts of harming themselves or are worried that they have nowhere to go.