New Kootenay Boundary crisis line launched

Trail-based Crisis Line for the West Kootenay-Boundary region will now be part of an Interior Crisis Line Network

The Kootenay-Boundary Crisis Line in Trail is now on the line, all the time after receiving a recent boost from the province.

The Trail-based service for the West Kootenay-Boundary region will now be part of an Interior Crisis Line Network, launched Feb. 6 throughout the Interior Health Authority service area.

Everyone will have around-the-clock access to toll-free telephone support in managing personal concerns when they call 1-888-353-2273 (CARE).

Extending the reach of the crisis line strengthens the community safety net for people who are trying to self-manage mental health, substance use and other personal issues, said Jane Gaudet, program assistant with the Kootenay-Boundary Crisis Line (KBCL).

“The idea is no call will go unanswered,” she said. “Up until this point it was quite conceivable that someone could call and end up with an answering machine which, for someone in a crisis situation, would be quite frustrating.”

When a caller dials 1 888 353-2273 (CARE) now they will first be linked to a crisis line closest to them geographically. If that line is busy, the system will automatically route the call to another Interior-based crisis line.

This provides the consistent and responsive crisis line support for everyone in the region, said Gaudet. And those crisis line workers are trained to support and guide callers through a variety of problems they may be facing such as depression, poverty, abuse or homelessness.

“We can really point people in the right direction if they are looking for help right in our own community, as well as … we do have access to resources and referrals in other communities as well,” said Gaudet.

The Interior Crisis Line Network was created with the assistance of the BC Crisis Line Association and the five Interior crisis line providers, including the East Kootenay Crisis Line, the Cariboo Chilcotin Crisis Line, the Kelowna Community Resource Centre and the North Okanagan PIN (People in Need) Crisis Line.

Within the network, the five crisis lines use the same protocols and tools to ensure callers receive a consistent level of support whether they are speaking to someone from a local crisis line or from another Interior-based crisis line.

All crisis line workers have access to a comprehensive database of community and emergency support services that are available in each area.

“The Interior Crisis Line Network is manned by trained people who live in and understand the challenges, opportunities and culture of the Southern Interior,” said Bryan Redford, IHA West community director, in a press release.

“We’ve also worked closely with our Aboriginal Health Program to ensure that culturally appropriate intervention options are available and known to all crisis line workers.”

The old phone number for the crisis line — 1-800-515-6999 — will be phased out, so people are encouraged to begin using the new number.

For those looking to volunteer as crisis line workers, fill out an application at the Trail FAIR Society at 2079 Columbia Ave.

The Interior Crisis Line Network received $74, 200 in one-time startup funding from IHA and will receive $437,000 in annualized funding.