Over the past thirty years, I have worked on and off within the crisis helpline sector in a variety of volunteer phone responder and technology advisory roles. (I have been working in helplines since a teenager in actual fact).
During the past nine years, I have had the opportunity to be a volunteer CIO for two Toronto area distress centres, as well as being the founding CEO and Senior Executive Technology consultant for Crisis Services Canada (CSC).
We brought together experienced consultants, vendors and dedicated distress centre professionals, to help build the award-winning national Canada Suicide Prevention Service. (CSPS)
In reflecting on today, being World Suicide Prevention Day, it makes me think about how technology has evolved over the past thirty years to enable caring, trained responders to save lives and provide mental health support via voice, text and chat. The national suicide prevention support service is operated by Crisis Services Canada. (CSC)
What is unique about the CSPS project is that it is a wonderful example of how multiple technology vendors, distributed distress centres and their dedicated experienced responders from across Canada, came together to develop the world’s first multi-media distributed suicide prevention and support national hotline.
The results have exceeded everyone’s expectations, and highlights how Canadians have and continue to come together to help the people of Canada.
What is also exciting for the future is that the CSC clinical professionals have information for regional support services and can provide referral and follow-up support to the callers, disregarding geographical location or media.
I am so proud to have been able to help design and project manage the build of this organization and technology platform. Hopefully with continued government and corporate support, the CSC network distress centre members will continue to provide much needed suicide prevention and support coast-to- coast-to-coast to the people of Canada.
People connected and communicating with dedicated professionals to provide suicide prevention and support, and save lives…..Way to go Canada!
Roberta Fox is a member of the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention and can be contacted at Roberta.Fox@FOXGROUP.ca