Crisis Link earns CUTA leadership award
The TTC and its Crisis Link partners – Distress Centres of Toronto and Bell Canada – were presented with the 2012 Corporate Leadership Award for safety and security by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA). The Crisis Link Suicide Prevention Program, established in June 2011, offers assistance and hope to those most at risk of suicide on the subway.
The award was presented by Raymond Bedard, CUTA Director of Training and Membership Development, at a Commission meeting on Sept. 27.
“Every week, one or two customers at high risk of suicide picks up the platform phone and gets help from a sympathetic listener trained by the Toronto Distress Centres. Every one of these calls has been de-escalated and the caller has been kept safe,” says TTC’s safety officer John O’Grady. “We see this as an interim measure until we can secure funding and install platform screen doors, which will act as a physical barrier to track level.”
Crisis Link is a unique poster/payphone program available on every subway platform. It’s designed to encourage anyone contemplating suicide to use a no-charge direct line on the payphone at the Designated Waiting Area at each platform. The direct-dial button connects callers with a trained counsellor at the Distress Centres of Toronto.
The phone call is free and confidential. Dedicated counsellors are available whenever the subway is open to talk with the caller and provide assistance. Distress Centres staff will contact the Transit Control Centre only if needed in high-risk situations to implement the appropriate measures to ensure the individual remains safe.
The TTC was the 2011 recipient of the Arnold Devlin Community Service Award, presented by the Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention, in recognition of its suicide prevention programs: Crisis Link, Gatekeeper and Acute Psychological Trauma.