ON: TTC Unveils Suicide 'Crisis Link'

The Toronto Transit Commission is trying a new approach to prevent suicides in the city's subway system.

Called "Crisis Link" and unveiled Thursday, the project will add special buttons to phones on subway platforms that people in distress can push to get immediate help.

Posters in the platforms will read: “Thinking of Suicide? There is help. Let’s talk.†The new direct dial button will connect callers with a trained counsellor with Distress Centres of Toronto. The call is free and confidential.

TTC Chair Karen Stintz said the service â€" which was created in partnership with Bell Canada â€" will be the first of its kind in Canada.

There were 26 subway suicide incidents on the TTC last year. There have already been seven so far this year.

"We do have suicides every year at the TTC," said Stintz, who unveiled the program at Yonge and Bloor subway station on Thursday. "We wanted to find ways to help people in distress and this is one of the ways that we're doing that."

"If you are in distress and need assistance, we've got buttons on the platform that will hook up directly so that you get immediate crisis support," she said. "We want this program to be a way for people to get help if they need it."

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