211 helpline provides non-emergency support

(NC) We all know to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. But now there’s another three-digit number you can dial for help finding any kind of non-emergency support you might need. 211 is a free, confidential service that connects people to social and community supports available seven days a week.

Whether you’re looking for seniors’ programs, groups for new parents, after-school programs, counselling or mental health support, employment programs, food banks, housing help, legal information, or countless other topics — the real person you speak to on the line can direct you to the best resources for your unique situation. They’ll listen and ask questions to fully understand your situation, but you don’t have to give your name or any personal details.

According to caller surveys completed in Ontario, over 95 per cent of callers would call again or recommend 211 to a friend or family member.

As part of its COVID-19 response, the Government of Canada provided funding to United Way Centraide Canada to expand the service nationwide.

Some provinces with existing service saw a dramatic rise in calls in the first wave of the pandemic, and many callers had never needed to access supports before. The shutdowns had presented them with new challenges, such as isolation, anxiety, and financial strain.

As information, programs and services changed rapidly, 211 navigators helped callers find the right support.

If you need non-emergency help, just dial 2-1-1.

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