Interior Health (IH) today (Sept. 8) announced a new list of phone numbers, now actie in the South Okanagan, which aim to provide assistance for specific health care needs. (Black Press file)

South Okanagan first in Interior Health to receive new health care support lines

New numbers support mental health, substance use, home/community care, chronic disease management

Interior Health (IH) today (Sept. 8) announced a new list of phone numbers which aim to provide assistance for specific health care needs.

These new numbers are focused on the areas of mental health, substance use, home and community care, and chronic disease management services.

The South Okanagan is the first region in Interior Health to acquire these new services. IH explained it is part of a phased roll-out that will be expanded to other areas of the Interior Health region later this year.

Communities included in this first phase include: Penticton, Okanagan Falls, Summerland, Kaleden, Naramata, Oliver, Osoyoos, Princeton, Hedley, Upper Similkameen, Tulameen, Keremeos, Cawston, Olalla and Lower Similkameen.

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IH’s new Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) line can be accessed during regular business hours, at 310-MHSU (6478).

This line is for those seeking support with mental health concerns including anxiety, depression, paranoia, psychosis, or if they’re unsure if they need support. Those with ongoing difficulties with substance abuse can also call this line.

The caller will be directed to the appropriate service.

Alternatively, IH’s other new number, 1-800-707-8550, is for those seeking support with home and community care.

Specifically this line is for those seeking support with community nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, dietitian, social work, speech language, and respiratory therapy. Those seeking home support for daily living, including medication assistance and in-home respite can also call this number.

In addition, those needing adult day service and those with questions about eligibility for funded assisted living and long term care homes can also call this line.

Finally, this line is also for those who need assistance finding chronic disease management programs, those seeking help with diabetes, cardiac health, kidney care, palliative care service, community nursing, social work, hospice care and acquired brain injury service.

The caller will be directed to the appropriate service.

IH explained these phone services have been developed in response to feedback from clients and the public, to make it simpler for people to find and access the services they need.

IH noted that these new single-point-of-access numbers do not replace existing contact numbers.

These include IH’s crisis line (1-888-353-2273), 811 (HealthLinkBC), acute or emergency services, or 911. People requiring services after regular business hours should consider these alternatives.

For more information, visit Interiorhealth.ca.

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