February 11 is 211 Day across North America.
211 is a free, up-to-date, reliable gateway to community, social, non-clinical health and government services. Free, confidential help is available 24/7, 365 days a year. In British Columbia, people can access help by calling or texting 211 or online at bc211.ca.
bc211 is launching a new mobile site to make it easier and faster for people to find information on their mobile devices. With the new mobile site, users land directly on search topics with drop-down menus to help narrow the search. Currently across the province, 60% of people access bc211.ca on their desktop; 35% on their mobile devices; and 5% on their tablets.
“The new mobile site means that people can find what they’re looking for faster – especially for youth who are heavy users of mobile devices,” said Nathan Wright, Executive Director, bc211. “There is no need to download an app to access the information. For some people, needing to download an app can be a barrier.”
“bc211 helps make our community social service network more visible and accessible to those in need, including all the programs supported by United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island,” says Signy Madden, Executive Director, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. “bc211 is a free and confidential lifeline for people in need.”
Since the full suite of phone, text and online searching was introduced on Vancouver Island 18 months ago, more than 21,000 people have been helped by bc211. For Vancouver Islanders, the top reasons people are contacting bc211 are: housing and homelessness; mental health; health; income and financial assistance; and substance use.
Encouraging Canadians to dial 2-1-1 for non-emergency services helps reduce congestion on 911 dispatch lines. The 211 network now reaches more than 26 million Canadians. 211 operates in partnership with United Way across Canada.
Canadians should always call 9-1-1 for emergencies.