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Warm Line offers pre-crisis mental health support in Sudbury


The Northern Initiative For Social Action known as NISA is a peer-to-peer organization that helps people take care of their mental health. It also operates a free peer-run telephone service called the Warm Line.

We talked to a 61-year-old man who works on the Warm Line that operates on anonymity. It's a service for anyone experiencing mental health challenges or mental illness.

"We don't tell them what to do but we encourage them to and most of the time they figure it out on their own. And I was glad to be on their journey to get them from point A to Point B," said the Warm Line worker.

He said he was on the other end of the phone line in 2015 when he was suffering from anxiety and depression.

"I had been bullied a few other places I had been, so it's nice to be able to call and vent and have somebody support you back,” he said.

“That's why when I heard there was a job opening I figured I think that is a job I can do and make myself feel better but mostly help other people.”

Warm Line offers pre-crisis confidential support to anyone who needs it and is staffed by people who have experienced their own mental health challenges.

"There is really no replacement for somebody who can relate," said Annette Babcock, the programs and operations manager at NISA.

“Somebody who says I get what you are going through. I might not have had the exact same experience … when somebody is hearing voices or if somebody is just wracked with anxiety.”

Officials said Warm Line aims to help people in difficult situations before they experience a mental health crisis.

The worker we talked to said NISA offers a very supportive environment for everyone.

"You can always reach out to somebody even as a worker you know,” he said.

“Sometimes you get a bad call and you need to do some self-care and sometimes I end up calling the supervisor and saying ‘I need somebody to talk to, that was overwhelming for me,’ and they are very open.”

Officials at NISA said the Warm Line started in 2014 and operates from 6 p.m. to midnight seven days a week.

The regional peer support line serves northeastern Ontario and receives more than 1,100 calls a month. The number is 1-866-856-9276 (WARM). Top Stories

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