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Canada is Coming Out With a Three Digit Emergency Number for Mental Health Crisis and Suicide

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

Did you know that Canada experiences 12 deaths per day by suicide? And that the second leading cause of death amongst our young adults are ages 15-26 years old? My daughter falls into this age group and with myself and husband having both fallen to mental illness in the past, we both know how precious life is. No parent wants their children to fall into these statistics. Nor do we want to fall into them ourselves.

In a groundbreaking move to prioritize mental health and suicide prevention, Canada is set to launch its new three-digit emergency number, #988, on November 30th, 2023. This initiative has been in the works for the past three years, mirroring the successful implementation of a similar service in the United States on July 16, 2022. The introduction of #988 aims to provide individuals with immediate access to professional support, offering a lifeline for those facing mental health crises around the clock.


How is it Working in the United States?

Per KFF, the United States experienced 5 million contacts through #988 their first year. Also, only after a year of implementing this emergency line, they were able to reduce wait times for individuals to connect with a councillor from 2 minutes and 20 seconds to 35 seconds. They also seen an increase of the individual answer rates across the board for calls, texts and online chats from 70% to 93%.

Below is a breakdown of primary concerns brought up:

26% Suicide

18% Relationship/Family Issues

13% Anxiety

13% Depression

5% Substance Use

5% Grief/Death

3% Medical Diagnosis

3% Self Harm

2% Financial Struggles

12% Other


Canada's Commitment to Mental Health:

Canada's decision to introduce the #988 emergency number reflects a broader commitment to prioritizing mental health and suicide prevention. Over the past three years, the Canadian government has worked to establish a system that is not only efficient but also tailored to the unique needs of our diverse population.


Key Features of Canada's #988 Emergency Mental Health Crisis Hotline:

  1. Accessible 24/7: The #988 emergency line will be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ensuring that individuals in crisis have continuous access to support whenever they need it.

  2. Professional Support: Trained mental health professionals will be at the other end of the line, equipped to provide immediate assistance, intervention, and guidance to those facing mental health crises or contemplating suicide.

  3. User-Friendly: The three-digit number is easy to remember, making it more likely that individuals in distress will reach out for help quickly. This simplicity reduces barriers to seeking assistance, a crucial factor in emergency situations.

Preparing for Launch:

In anticipation of the November 30th launch date, the Canadian government has provided information on the #988 emergency mental health crisis hotline. If you are seeking more information can visit the official government website https://www.canada.ca/en/radio-television-telecommunications/news/2022/08/crtc-to-implement-new-9-8-8-number-for-mental-health-crisis-and-suicide-prevention.html .


Until the official launch, if you are requiring immediate mental health and suicide prevention support, you can utilize existing resources below.


In conclusion, the introduction of Canada's #988 emergency mental health crisis and suicide prevention hotline marks a significant step forward in prioritizing our mental well-being. The hope is that this initiative will save lives, reduce stigma, and foster a culture of understanding and empathy surrounding our mental health challenges. With the launch just around the corner, Canada is poised to make a positive impact on the mental health landscape, providing a lifeline for you, me and our family and friends too.


Canada

Talk Suicide Canada

Website: https://talksuicide.ca/ Call: 988 (As of November 30th, 2023) National Crisis Line: 1-833-456-4566 Quebec (QC) Crisis Line: 1-866-277-3553 Text Support: Text 45645


Hope for Wellness (Indigenous Support)

Website: https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/ Call: 1-855-242-3310


United States

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Website: https://988lifeline.org/ Call: 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

 

Other Supports


Multiple Countries

Togetherall: Peer to Peer Support Community


Canada

Al-Anon Family Groups Website: https://al-anon.org/


Assaulted Women's Helpline (Ontario, Canada)

GTA: 416.863.0511

GTA TTY: 416.364.8762

Toll-Free: 1.866.863.0511

Toll-Free TTY: 1.866.863.7868

#SAFE (#7233) on Bell, Rogers, Fido, or Telus mobile phones


Seniors Safety Line Call: 1-866-299-1011



Cancer Care Ontario Website: https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en


Canadian Mental Health Association Website: https://cmha.ca/find-your-cmha


Children's Mental Health Ontario Website: https://cmho.org/


Co-Dependents Anonymous Canada Website: https://codacanada.ca/


Jack.org - Youth Support


Kids Help Phone Website: https://kidshelpphone.ca/


Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) Website: https://sexualassaultsupport.ca/about-ocrcc/


National Eating Disorder Information Centre Website: https://nedic.ca/


Wise Practices (Indigenous Support) Website: https://wisepractices.ca/


Canada - Durham Region, Ontario:

Hearth Place (Cancer Support - Patients and Family)


United States:

Mental Health America


Al-Anon Family Groups Website: https://al-anon.org/

Meet Jess Fraser, a vibrant Life Coach, retreat facilitator, podcast host, blogger, and avid book lover. With a passion for adventure, personal growth and transformation, Jess guides individuals on their journey towards self-discovery and empowerment. Her insightful writings and engaging podcasts inspire others to embrace change and embrace their true selves. If you enjoyed this article and would like to stay connected, join Jess at www.yourinnervitality.com to explore her latest projects, including her empowering guided journal, "Courage to Change Journal." Together, let's continue the journey of self-reflection, growth, and creating a life filled with courage and purpose.



Blog Written November 27th, 2023


Referenced research:

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