In conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), the Prince Edward Island division of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA/PEI) and provincial government health services partner to re-launch the The Island Helpline.
The Island Helpline provides free, confidential emotional support and crisis intervention to Islanders of all ages. Trained staff and volunteers answer calls any time of the day or night, 365 days a year. They also help by offering vital information and links to local community resources and supports.
President of the CMHA/PEI, Charlene Duffy, says, “Our organization works to promote the mental health and well-being of all Islanders and we are very pleased to partner on the renewal of this life-promoting service. Our collective efforts will help ensure Islanders are aware of The Island Helpline and can continue to get the emotional support they need 24/7.”
Anyone who is going through a difficult time can call The Island Helpline in confidence regardless of whether the person is grieving, feeling sad, anxious, overwhelmed or in crisis. Volunteers and staff are trained in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) allowing them to discuss suicide with callers in an open, direct and non-judgmental manner. They also help callers to identify risk and protective factors and can work with them to develop safe plans to guard against that risk.
CMHA/PEI has been a long-time promoter of The Island Helpline. Last year, the organization’s Suicide Prevention Committee identified The Island Helpline as an important resource option in easing distress and suicidal crisis among Islanders. As a result of a generous donation by a group of concerned community members who wanted to support the organization’s suicide prevention efforts, CMHA was able to leverage additional funds and in-kind support from Health PEI, The PEI French Health Network and The Island Helpline. The combined funds were used to develop a promotional campaign to re-launch The Island Helpline.
“The Island Helpline provides an invaluable 24-hour service to Islanders when they are need of support,” said Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie. “We are very pleased to support the Helpline financially and to be part of this collaborative effort to encourage more Islanders to seek help for mental health issues.”
A number of promotional tools have been created for this campaign including; a new, bilingual web-site and logo, posters and information cards, smart phone wallets, pens and magnets, all of which will be available at the press conference or by visiting any of the partners’ offices.
World Suicide Prevention Day is an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The day serves as a call to action for individuals and organizations to work together to prevent suicide. This year the theme, ‘Preventing Suicide: Reaching out and Saving Lives,’ encourages everyone to consider how vital it is to offer support to someone who is struggling. Reaching out can make a difference – it can save lives.
For more information about The Island Helpline, visit www.theislandhelpline.com or to contact one of the partners involved in the project.