TTC launches suicide prevention pilot
The TTC has unveiled a new pilot project in cooperation with Distress Centres of Toronto, and Bell. "Crisis Link" is a plan the Transit Commission hopes can cut down the number of suicides on Toronto's subway tracks.
The initiative will see new payphones installed at TTC stations across the board, with special blue buttons labelled "Crisis Link." With the press of a button it gives a person considering suicide a chance to speak to a distress specialist immediately and talk it out in hopes of preventing the worst case scenario.
It also allows TTC staff to be notified of any risky situations so that they can slow down or stop an incoming train and take other necessary action such as dispatching emergency personnel.
Unveiled late Thursday morning with the installation of the special payphones at Wellesley and Yonge-Bloor stations, Crisis Link will be fully rolled out by the end of July. A total of 141 phones will be installed across all 69 stations in the subway system. The pilot project will be reevaluated in 2013.
Officials say they know not everybody considering suicide will utilize the service but that if it can save at least one life, it will have served its purpose.
The TTC's yearly cost for the project is $107,000.
There were 18 subway suicides in 2009, 26 last year, and seven so far this year as of Thursday afternoon.
While "suicide barriers" to separate the platform and track levels are in the TTC's future plans, Chair Karen Stintz says that due to planning and budget constraints, they are still several years from integration.