*The 9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Helpline is now active as of November 30, 2023. To learn more about Canada’s new three-digit service, visit https://988.ca
Last week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that Canada will be getting a three-digit number for suicide prevention next year. The federal government followed this news with their own announcement that CAMH will lead coordination of the delivery of this service.
Like 911, a three-digit suicide prevention number will give people experiencing thoughts of suicide an accessible and easy number to call when they need urgent help. The US launched 988 as their national suicide prevention number in July.
For just over a year, the CRTC has been consulting a wide range of partners on whether a three-digit suicide prevention number would be feasible in Canada. On Wednesday, August 31, they reached their decision: the number should be 988 and it should be available by November 30, 2023.
Shortly after, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that CAMH is to lead coordination of the 988 service delivery. This will build on our work on Talk Suicide, the existing national suicide prevention line in Canada.
CAMH will be engaging individuals and organizations across Canada to support and inform this process. We are proud to have been given this opportunity to use our expertise and collaborate with partners in leading this critical work.
While this is taking place, it’s important to remember that there is a number that people who need help can call right now. Anyone who is considering suicide or who is worried about someone else can call Talk Suicide Canada at 1.833.456.4566 any time, or text 45645 between 4 p.m. and midnight Eastern Time every day.