On Wednesday August 31st, 2011, the North East Local Health Integration Network (NELHIN) announced that they will provide $170,000 to fund a Regional Mental Health and Addiction Warm Line. The regional Warm Line will rotate operations throughout the region, centered in 5 districts, with phone lines set up in Sudbury, Sault St. Marie, Timmins, North Bay and Parry Sound. The phone lines will operate 365 days a year from 6pm to 12pm each night.As with the current model, all warm line workers will be mental health consumers. Over the coming months, we will work with selected organizations in each area to find suitable candidates for these positions and to provide training and orientation to this new service. We are looking forward to working with you and envision a successful transition in order to service the needs of consumers regionally.
Warm Line Program History:
CMHA started up its warm line program in 2000, with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and later CMHA utilized the restructuring of a program to annualize dollars.
Warm Line originally operated five days a week from 6:00-10:00 pm and later expanding to weekend hours with the assistance of United Way funds
The Warm Line is a pre-crisis after hours telephone support
The Warm Line is staffed by mental health consumers who provide a supportive and confidential chat line used by consumers, their family members, caregivers and friends.
At a time when many community mental health services are closed - the program receives an average of 15-20 calls per night with many repeat callers and a higher volume of calls during the winter months. Whether callers are feeling lonely or depressed, facing challenges in their recovery, or even experiencing periods of positive change that they wish to share with someone, there is an empathic voice on the other end of the phone who is trained in active listening and there to offer emotional support. Information and referrals are also provided to other community programs and services. The Warm Line is staffed with individuals who have lived experience with mental health issues and mental illness.This peer support model is at the root of the success of Sudbury’s warm line because individuals know that when calling in, they will be received by someone who truly understands and will listen – no subject is taboo.
Warm Line Operations:
A Friendly Pre-Crisis
Telephone Support Line
Operates 6:00 pm – 12:00 am
7 days a week
▪All calls are confidential
▪Our workers offer
support, listen to concerns and generally understand the caller’s perspective and are willing to listen.
▪Warm Line program provides after hour services when other formal supports are not operating (evenings and weekends).This provides relief to the crisis department at the hospital and other community agencies.
▪To provide pre-crisis and peer support to consumers of mental health services
▪To decrease non-crisis calls received by the Crisis Intervention Program
▪To provide employmentfor trained consumers to become
▪Having personal experience with serious and persistent mental illness is a primary aspect of being able to relate to others with
psychiatric disorders.Peers are excellent role models and have much experiential knowledge of
dealing with common concerns and problems to offer other peers.
▪One of the major benefits to the mental health service delivery system is the potential cost-savings that are likely to result to the system from peer provided services.~ Catherine Squire, Adult Inpatient Psychiatry, NEMHC, August 8, 2001
▪Clients have increased accessibility and support after hours
▪Clients have increased knowledge of community resources
▪Agencies have an increase in number of appropriate referrals
▪ The inpatients have received the invitation to access the service while
being hospitalized and have utilized the Warm Line post discharge.Just by having the option to call someone when in need of an empathetic ear and
understanding has the effect of reducing presentations at the emergency
department and the seeking of crisis intervention services, thereby reducing cost to the system as a whole.
▪The information and referral service assists clients in accessing and
obtaining community services and consumer programs, where needed and
▪Through emphatic listening and responding to callers in a trustful way; it helps build the relationship.Peers feel understood and taken seriously. It also helps the peer explore their feelings in a non-judgmental manner.