February 11th is #211Day
#211Day is a national public awareness initiative for 211, a national, bilingual helpline. 211 service providers exist to help people who are experiencing life’s challenges access and use services they need, such as food, housing, mental health services or financial assistance, while reducing congestion caused by non-emergency calls to 911 dispatch lines.
Across Canada, 211 service providers now reach more than 26 million residents, offering confidential guidance about services and help available in local communities. The service is a free, easy access point for community, social, health and government assistance and is available by phone, online search, chat and text. Callers to 211 can access on-demand interpretation in over 150 languages.
This year on #211Day, 211 service providers and their ambassadors are working together to inform residents about making the right call. To help get that message across, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Paramedic Association of Canada, and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs have all lent their support.
“Our front-line officers respond to calls for service from the community every day. These calls aren’t just related to crime. Officers often deal with people experiencing difficulties related to mental health, addiction, and homelessness. Police see firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate various services and try to figure out which resources are available. We’re pleased that 211 service providers will help connect people in need with help 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Chief Constable Adam Palmer, President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
“The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs is pleased to help raise awareness about the 211 service. Having the right support, in the right place, at the right time can help prevent emergencies and reduce non-emergency calls to 911 and ensuring community resources in a fire or emergency are appropriately utilized,” said Chief John McKearney, President of the CAFC.
Paramedics are one of only a few health care providers to care for a patient in their home situation. “We see the evidence of the issues they are dealing with, beyond their immediate health emergency, but we’re not equipped to answer every need. The 211 service is a great resource to share with our patients and their families so they can get help resolving some of their other challenges,” said Tim Stairs, Treasurer of the Paramedic Association of Canada.
Residents should call 9-1-1 for a life-threatening emergency, when a property is in danger or a crime is in progress that requires the police, fire or paramedics.
Residents should call the non-emergency helpline 2-1-1 for access to essential social services, community organizations, health and government assistance.
About 211 in Ontario
The 211 Ontario network is supported by the Province of Ontario, many United Ways and municipalities across the province. Six, 211 service providers located in Collingwood, Ottawa, Toronto, Thunder Bay, St. Catharines and Windsor are integrated through technology, enabling province-wide, 24/7, bilingual service.
Blog information courtesy of Community Connection/211 Central East Ontario