PEI

Island Helpline looks forward to 3-digit phone number for suicide crises

The manager of P.E.I.’s Island Helpline says having a 988 national suicide help number would be a step forward.

‘A lot easier for Canadians’ to remember than 11 digits

The current 11-digit number may be hard to remember in a crisis, says Nikita Moriarity. (Shutterstock)

The manager of P.E.I.'s Island Helpline says having a 988 national suicide help number would be a step forward.

Canada has a national suicide prevention line, but it is an 11-digit, toll-free number.

MPs voted unanimously in early December to offer a 3-digit number instead, and Island Helpline interim executive director Nikita Moriarity supports the initiative.

"988 is just something that is very simple and easy to remember, especially for those individuals experiencing crisis," she said.

Moriarity said some people will continue to prefer to call someone who is local, and may have a better understanding of what is happening in their community, while others will prefer to talk to someone off-Island, which they may perceive as giving them greater anonymity.

That makes for a good opportunity for the two services to work together, she said.

"It's a great opportunity to have a partnership with something much bigger than the Island as well as being able to have one more resource out there," said Moriarity.

The current number for the Island Helpline is 1-800-218-2885.

You can reach the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566.

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With files from Island Morning

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