United Way of Northern B.C. awards grants for crisis hotlines

United Way of Northern B.C. awards $18,000 and a $7,500 grant to the Crisis Prevention, Intervention and Information Centre of Northern B.C. for two of its programs.

United Way of Northern B.C. (UWNBC) is pleased to announce that it has awarded a $18,000 and a $7,500 grant to the Crisis Prevention, Intervention and Information Centre of Northern B.C. for two of its programs – the 24-Hour Crisis Line and the Youth Crisis Line respectively.

The Crisis Centre is the only crisis line serving the entire northern region. It operates 24/7, 365 days a year. Services are free and confidential to everyone.

“We believe it is the right of every individual, in their time of need, to have access to free, confidential, anonymous and non-judgmental peer support and/or information and referrals,” said Sandra Boulianne, Crisis Centre executive director.

The primary role is to provide crisis intervention, suicide prevention, education and confidential peer support. During the last funding cycle, 3,293 callers used this service – mostly for mental health, loneliness, social isolation or long wait lists with counsellors.

People can be in crisis at any time of the day – which is why this service is so vital.

Community workshops – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and safeTALK – allowed around 1,000 people to receive education.

During the last funding cycle, 191 youth were able to contact the Youth Crisis support line or the chat/text line – operational between 4-10 p.m. It reverts to the Crisis line outside of these hours. This is a place for teens to connect about their troubles or seek referrals in a safe and confidential manner.

The Crisis Centre also take their youth workshops (Reaching Out, Self-Care 101, GRASP) to schools to create suicide awareness and prevention.

It is important for youth to have access to these services, as many times they may not know where to turn. The fact they are receiving anonymous and confidential peer support from trained crisis line workers can enable them to feel more confident and to reach out further if necessary.

“The chat was very helpful and helped me to calm down tremendously. I would use it again,” said one caller.

UWNBC acts on the root causes of social issues in 22 communities, five regional districts and 86 Aboriginal communities. They do this by supporting research, investing in organizations that deliver programs, advocating for change, and working in partnership with agencies, government, educators, labour, business and community members. UWNBC supports 308 programs and initiatives in Northern B.C. and their efforts positively affect the lives of one in three individuals in Northern B.C.