November 30, 2023 (Toronto) – Starting today, people across Canada will have access to a new and important source of support: 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline is now available nationwide in English and French, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Approximately 12 people die by suicide per day across Canada. Led and coordinated by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and funded by the Government of Canada, this simple three-digit number makes it easier for people to call or text to get the help they need, when they need it most. The service offers trauma-informed and culturally affirming support to anyone who is thinking of suicide, or who is worried about someone they know.
9-8-8 is made possible by a network of 39 experienced local, provincial and territorial, and national crisis lines and helplines across the country—including Kids Help Phone and Hope for Wellness—whose trained responders will answer calls and texts, while also connecting people to a responder in their community.
“Each life lost by suicide can have far-reaching effects, whether that's families grappling with the loss of a loved one or the ripple effects that are felt within their communities,” said the Honourable Ya'ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health. "We need to be there for Canadians by taking concrete steps to ensure they have access to the best possible mental health and crisis intervention supports and resources. With today’s launch of the 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline, people across Canada have access to an important life-saving service no matter the time of day or where they live. Our message to anyone who is struggling across Canada: you are not alone, help is available.”
“9-8-8 is the result of collaboration across geographies, industries and cultures,” said CAMH CEO Sarah Downey. “CAMH is honoured to build this life-saving service that extends into every corner of our country. Today’s launch is a crucial step in making sure that everyone in Canada has quick and easy access to suicide prevention support.”
Dr. Allison Crawford, CAMH psychiatrist and Suicide Crisis Helpline’s Chief Medical Officer, added: “As a clinician, I’ve seen firsthand how even one conversation can begin a dialogue that allows someone to re-engage with their strengths and to hope. That sense of connection and belonging can be transformative. If you are thinking of suicide, our message to you is: you don’t have to face your problems alone. 9-8-8 can offer you a non-judgmental space to talk – whatever you are going through, please know you can always reach out to us.”
While the focus of 9-8-8 is on suicide prevention, no one who reaches out to the service will be turned away. Whoever you are, wherever you are located in Canada, by calling or texting 9-8-8 you can connect with a trained responder who’s ready to listen without judgement.
For more information about 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline, visit https://988.ca.
About the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
CAMH is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit camh.ca or follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.
ABOUT 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline
9-8-8 is a new national helpline for anyone across Canada who is thinking about suicide, or who is worried about someone they know. Call or text 9-8-8 toll-free, anytime for support in English and French. 9-8-8 responders are here to listen and provide help without judgement. Led and coordinated by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and funded by the Government of Canada, 9-8-8 is made up of a growing network of nearly 40 experienced local, provincial and territorial, and national crisis lines across the country.
CAMH Media Relations