9-8-8, Canada’s new three-digit Suicide Crisis Helpline, is now available to call or text, in English and French, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, across Canada.
An average of 4,500 people across Canada die by suicide each year – approximately 12 people per day. Suicide continues to be a serious public health issue impacting people of all ages and backgrounds, and more needs to be done to support those in crisis.
“Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. There is hope and resources available for people in need. Starting today, people across Canada have access to an important life-saving service no matter the time of day or where they live. While we celebrate the launch of 9-8-8, we must also acknowledge that this is just the beginning. We will continue to work closely with CAMH, provinces and territories and other important partners to ensure 9-8-8 continues to meet the ever-changing needs of Canda’s diverse populations. There is no health without mental health, and I look forward to the contribution this service will make.” The Honourable Ya’ara Saks,
Minister of Mental Health and Addiction and Associate Minister of Health.
As of November 30th, 2023, an experienced network of partners has trained responders ready to answer 9-8-8 calls and texts.
Responders will provide support and compassion without judgement. They are here to help callers and texters explore ways to keep themselves safe when things are overwhelming.
“As a psychiatrist, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of connection. Even just one conversation can help someone reconnect with their strengths and forge new ways of coping. If you are feeling hopeless, our message to you is: you are not alone. 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline can offer you a non-judgmental space to talk. Whatever you are going through, please know you can always reach out to us.” Dr. Allison Crawford, Chief Medical Officer, 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline and psychiatrist at CAMH.
The Government of Canada and The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have worked closely with partners from across many different sectors in the months leading up to this launch. Those partnerships are the foundation of the 9-8-8 network.
This includes local partners such as Distress Centres of Greater Toronto and Gerstein Crisis Centre, Distress Centre of Ottawa, Crisis Prevention, Intervention and Information Centre for Northern BC, Canadian Mental Health Association Edmonton and others across the country.
National partners such as Kids Help Phone and Hope for Wellness will continue to provide dedicated service through 9-8-8 to youth and Indigenous communities. The Hope for Wellness Helpline will provide support to 9-8-8 callers in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut, upon request.
“The launch of 9-8-8 is an important step towards providing the support and resources needed for suicide prevention, including within Indigenous communities. The inclusion of the Hope for Wellness Helpline in the 9-8-8 network will provide a dedicated service to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. It will provide culturally appropriate support Indigenous peoples need, when they need it.” The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada.
As the 9-8-8 system continues to mature and evolve, PHAC and CAMH will continue to explore ways to build the network and support current and future network partners.
Call or text 9-8-8 if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide.