The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the value of service navigation as more Canadians are seeking support. While calls to 211 have increased, so have unnecessary but desperate calls to 911 looking for help.
Chief Bryan Larkin, President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, says he and his members know first-hand the importance of ensuring more people know about 211 as a front door to support.
“Our frontline officers respond to calls for service from the community every day, not related to crime. The stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic, an inability to feed yourself or your family, those are real emergencies for people, and when they don’t know where to turn, they often go to the number they know best. But, we’re hoping increased access to 211, and a better understanding of the service, will divert more of those calls to the helpline that can connect people to the support they need” says Larkin.
While the national expansion of the 211 helpline was made possible by funding from the federal government’s COVID-19 response, the service’s value goes beyond the pandemic. Whether somebody has lost a job and needs employment support, a senior is looking for programs in their community, or a parent needs help finding programs for a child with unique needs, 211 is the number to call.
“The pandemic has created new challenges for individuals and families and exacerbated existing problems,” says Kelly Ziegner, President & CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex. “Suddenly, many of us are facing financial, mental health and social isolation challenges like never before.”
“When you need help but you’re not sure where to start, start with 2-1-1. It’s the best way to get quickly connected to programs and services close to home.”
As Canada continues to battle COVID-19 and services and programs change, 211 is consistently updated with the latest information. To find local supports quickly and easily you can also visit 211southwest.ca.
211 is accessible 24/7 and available in over 150 languages. When you need help with life’s challenges, make the right call, dial 2-1-1 today or visit 211southwest.ca.