1-800-SUICIDE prevention service to be launched on

VANCOUVER, BC ? On World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, 2004, a network of crisis lines across British Columbia will be announcing a new 1-800-SUICIDE toll-free suicide prevention service.

The Distress Line Network of British Columbia (DLN), a partnership of independent crisis lines from across B.C., has initiated the new 1-800-SUICIDE service to help ensure suicide-related callers do not receive a busy signal when they call.

?Our goal is that no suicide-related calls go unanswered. Callers need help now and the 1-800-SUICIDE prevention service will help ensure British Columbians receive the help they need when they call,? says Shirley Hogan, Youth Services Coordinator, Crisis Prevention, Intervention & Information Centre for Northern BC. ?Suicide is most often the result of pain, hopelessness and despair. If people are reaching out for help, it is important they connect with a human voice.?

Anyone in B.C. who calls 1-800-SUICIDE will be connected to the nearest Distress Line in the Network. If busy, the call will be redirected to the next available Distress Line Partner. Calls will be answered by an experienced volunteer, trained in suicide risk assessment and supported by a team of professionals.

Currently, suicide related calls represent between six and 10 per cent of all calls to crisis centres in British Columbia.

?This system will streamline suicide prevention and response in B.C. It will not replace existing crisis lines; rather it adds to the service continuum another access point for suicide-related calls. The DLN?s goal is to enhance crisis intervention and suicide prevention services in B.C.,? says Verna MacLeod, Executive Director, Crisis Prevention, Intervention & Information Centre for Northern BC.

Funding for the 1-800-SUICIDE project was donated by the BC Hydro Employees? Community Services Fund (HYDRECS fund), the Vancouver Foundation and Telus.

partnership of independent crisis centres covering every health region in the province, working together to provide a seamless suicide response for British Columbians. Members include the Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Centre of B.C.; the Crisis Prevention, Intervention & Information Centre for Northern B.C.; Kelowna Community Resources; Mission Community Services; and NEED Crisis & Information Line. Each Distress Line is certified by the American Association of Suicidology.