People across Canada can call and text 9-8-8, a new three-digit service, for help 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.
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.
In the face of increased demand for crisis services, 9-8-8 provides:
- A number that’s easy to remember in a crisis situation.
- Support in English and in French, by phone and text.
- Quick access to support from trained responders, available 24/7/365.
- High quality, evidence-based, equitable suicide prevention and crisis support for everyone in Canada.
For more information about 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline, visit https://988.ca.
Who is behind 9-8-8?
In 2021, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) began a public consultation to determine if Canada should have a three-digit service for suicide prevention. In 2022, they issued their decision: Canada will adopt 9-8-8 as its national three-digit number for suicide prevention and emotional distress, the same number that’s already in use in the United States.
Based on our work on Talk Suicide Canada, the federal government asked CAMH to lead the implementation of 9-8-8. Since then, we have been working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and other key partners to make sure that 9-8-8 is ready to meet the needs of people in crisis who are thinking about suicide. 9-8-8 launched across the country on November 30, 2023.
A network model
Bringing 9-8-8 to Canada takes a team effort.
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. They will be there to help and listen when people need it most.