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PODCAST: New Island mental health and substance use service link program launched

PQBEAT: Callers able to access community specific information

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Host Peter McCully welcomes Tara Fitzgerald, a director of Mental Health and Substance for Island Health.

Island Health has recently created a new program to help those looking for help via telephone.

“We launched this line to act as a front door to all harm reduction and mental health substance use services across the region,” said Fitzgerald. “The line is answered by real humans at the other end of the call. So those call-takers who are answering the line help people navigate what services may be right for them and how to connect with these services.”

The new service is an information line, not to be confused with a crisis line. Those in crisis should call the Vancouver Island Crisis Line. The new service offers information and navigation support, and if someone in crisis does call, the call takers will refer them directly to the crisis line.

Fitzgerald explained what type of information was available via the service.

“People are able to access community specific information about harm reduction services, overdose prevention, addiction medicine, which could include opioid agonist therapy, prescribed safer supply or other medication options withdrawal management, treatment and recovery services,” said Fitzgerald. “So, the call-takers can answer a broad range of questions to provide information to people who are calling the line. importantly, the call-takers are also able to refer directly to local mental health and substance use offices for people who are seeking clinical services and supports.”

The new program’s number is 1-888-885-8824.

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Peter McCully

About the Author: Peter McCully

Peter has been a broadcaster and publisher on both of Canada’s coasts and has owned a small newspaper and run an advertising agency along the way.
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