British Columbia

First Nations suicide crisis line expands to cover all B.C.

A crisis line on Vancouver Island tailored for First Nations people at risk of suicide is going province-wide in cooperation with the First Nations Health Authority.

KUU-US started in 1993 to serve Nuu-Chah-Nulth communities and is now going province-wide

An advertisement for KUU-US, a crisis line aimed at First Nations people in B.C. (

A First Nations mental health crisis line that has served people in Nuu-Chah-Nulth territory since 1993 will now be available across British Columbia.

KUU-US was started in Port Alberni, B.C., in response to a high rate of suicide and attempted suicides in Nuu-Chah-Nulth communities.

Through a new partnership with the First Nations Health Authority, the service will be available to Aboriginal people across the province.

"Right from the get-go we ensured there was a teen line, we made sure it was a toll-free line so it wasn't a barrier for people calling in," Elia Nicholson-Nave, executive director of the KUU-US Crisis Line society, told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

"We are the only Aboriginal crisis line in the nation … so we are groundbreaking in that we are specific to the needs that we serve."

Nicholson-Nave says KUU-US, which last year had about 11,000 calls, is unique in that it follows up and checks on people who call in.

"We're finding that it really reduces people's crises because they know there's a 24-hour continuum of support that's there to be a gatekeeper for them," she said.

To keep that work going as the service expands, Nicholson-Nave says they are identifying "crisis leads" in every First Nation in B.C.

"We want the people providing supports to their nations to also be able to debrief, decompress and be able to call and get that support," she said.

KUU-US can be reached province-wide at 1-800-KUU-US17 (588-8717).

KUU-US also has an adult/elder line (250-723-4050) and a child/youth line (250-723-2040). Both can be accessed through 1-800-588-8717.

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Suicide crisis line for First Nations expands to all of B.C.