Two crisis lines serve North Vancouver Island

Dear editor,

I am writing in response to your article published recently in the North Island Gazette under the heading, North Island Crisis Line funding restored.

As you are aware, the Vancouver Island Health Authority, following a Request for Proposals process, consolidated the Island’s six crisis lines in March 2010. The Central Vancouver Island Crisis Society (CVICS), which is accredited under the American Association of Suicidology, was the successful proponent. We have been very pleased with the services the CVICS has been providing Island wide.

VIHA’s goal through consolidation of the six crisis lines was to reduce costs and increase efficiency, while also enhancing service. Over the past two years, VIHA has reinvested $336,000 in funding for Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) in Mount Waddington communities. A full-time social worker and a full-time rehabilitation worker are now working with VIHA’s Mount Waddington MHAS team. VIHA has also expanded the part-time outreach nurse position to full-time. This reinvestment was, in part, a result of cost-savings achieved through consolidation of the crisis lines.

I would like to assure your readers that staff with the centralized line have, and will continue to make every effort to engage with Mount Waddington residents and local agencies. At the same time, we recognize that some local community members and agencies may have a deeper understanding of their local communities and needs. In recognition of this, VIHA will be entering into a new contract and funding arrangement with the North Island Crisis Line to provide services and crisis work.

The Island wide crisis line will remain in service, including in Mount Waddington communities, further enhancing services for residents by giving individuals in need access to two crisis lines, both of which will provide quality service to individuals in crisis.

Allison Cutler, Executive Director

Population and Community Health

Vancouver Island Heatth Authority

Nanaimo, B.C.