This is an important step to ensuring Canadians get the help they need, when they need it.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that it will adopt 9-8-8 as the number to call or text for Canadians who are in need of immediate mental health crisis and suicide prevention intervention. Once implemented by telephone and wireless service providers,calls and texts to 9-8-8 will be directed to a mental health crisis or suicide prevention service, free of charge.
The implementation of 9-8-8 as an easy-to-remember three-digit number will help reduce barriers to mental health and suicide prevention resources. The number will enable greater access regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status as it will be available from coast to coast, 24/7 and free of charge. Furthermore, the ability to text to 9-8-8 will ensure that people in crisis who are unable to safely call, or prefer texting, are able to obtain counselling.
Help is still available in the meantime:
Currently, people in Canada who are experiencing mental health distress can obtain assistance through Talk Suicide Canada by dialing toll-free 1-833-456-4566.
Assistance is also available through text. Adults can text 741741 and youth can text 686868. Talk Suicide Canada’s text service is available in the evenings from 4:00 p.m. to midnight EST by texting 45645.