#JustCall211 spreads the word about crisis intervention team
REACH and its partners are taking to social media this fall and winter to empower Edmontonians to act when they see fellow community members in non-emergency distress. The #JustCall211 campaign was launched Oct. 20, encouraging citizens to call 211 to dispatch the 24/7 Mobile Assistance Program (MAP) team when they see some one who needs a helping hand. In partnership with REACH, Homeward Trust and Bissell Centre as well as Edmonton Police Services and 211, the 24/7 MAP team is on Edmonton’s streets responding to people in need 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The MAP team offers immediate help, freeing police and ambulances to focus more on emergencies, while connecting people to housing and followup supports to deal with the underlying causes of their crisis. The #JustCall211 campaign is a joint effort between REACH Edmonton and its 24/7 MAP Team partner agencies to spread the word about the program through powerful images and a simple message: if you see some one in distress, just call 211. With Edmonton’s quickly increasing population, emergency services are under more pressure than ever and often their time is taken up responding to calls related to homeless or vulnerable people that are not an appropriate use of police or emergency services. When the 24/7 MAP Team engages with these vulnerable Edmontonians, they not only avoid unnecessary contact with police and emergency services but help them access ongoing supports that can help them find, and keep, housing while addressing the root causes of their crisis. In the first week of the campaign, 16 original tweets spread through the community seeing nearly 300 retweets and more than 80 favourites, as well as many shares and posts on Facebook. This campaign has empowered Edmontonians to help spread the word about the 24/7 MAP team and how each citizen can support this work that is being done on Edmonton’s streets 24 hours a day. REACH and its partners will continue to share these images throughout the upcoming year, with particular focus when extreme weather put vulnerable people at heightened risk. To join the campaign and help spread the message, find REACH on Facebook at facebook.com/reachedmonton or on Twitter at twitter.com/reachedmonton.