One of Nunavut’s cellular providers is helping to ensure a new texting service reaches those who need it in all of Nunavut’s communities. (FILE PHOTO)

Crisis text line now works in all 25 Nunavut communities

SSi Mobile said it has resolved a glitch with short-code texting

By Sarah Rogers

One of Nunavut’s cellular providers is helping to ensure a new texting service reaches those who need it in all of Nunavut’s communities.

Last June, Kids Help Phone launched its new crisis texting service across the territory, following the sudden deaths of two young men in Iqaluit.

By texting 68 68 68, the new service allows youth to connect with a crisis responder, anonymously and for free.

But when SSi Micro Ltd.—which offers cellular service in all 25 communities—ran some tests to make sure the service worked on its network, its engineering department realized it didn’t.

“[Our] role is that we are making the short-code texting service is available on our cellular network,” said SSi Mobile spokesperson David Veniot.

“For some reason, it did not. So we contacted Kids Help Phone and set to work to remedy the situation. After considerable back and forth with our inter-carrier provider and the necessary testing, we got it to work.”

The new crisis texting service was rolled out to offer a more accessible and a discreet option for reaching out for help. The text line does not require a data plan, internet connection or an app in order to operate.

The texter’s phone number does not appear to the crisis responder, and all the information a text shares remains confidential, unless it becomes necessary to contact emergency services.

Jeff Philips, the founder and CEO of SSi Micro, called the new service “an important initiative that we are very proud to be part of.”

“With the introduction of Crisis Text Line, we set out to meet youth where they need us most, and the response has shown that this is a vital support service for young people in Canada,” said Katherine Hay, president and CEO of Kids Help Phone, in a news release.

Kids Help Phone still offers phone counselling at 1-800-668-6868 and an online chat service for those who prefer to communicate that way.

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