Every day, 12 people die by suicide in Canada. 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. Suicide is a serious public health issue that impacts people of all ages and backgrounds across the country, including youth. The Government of Canada is taking steps to help ensure that everyone in Canada has access to suicide prevention resources and other crisis supports—whenever and wherever they need them.
In July, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $156 million over three years to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for the implementation and operation of 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline, building on their experience delivering Talk Suicide Canada.
Today, the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction and Associate Minister of Health, announced that Kids Help Phone has signed a service agreement with CAMH and will join the 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline network. Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people in English and French. Kids Help Phone will provide specialized support to young people who reach out to 9-8-8.
As of November 30, 2023, 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline will be available in English and French, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, to everyone in Canada. The 9-8-8 service will offer trauma-informed and culturally appropriate suicide prevention services and will be delivered by trained crisis responders using best practices, procedures and protocols. Implementation and delivery of the 9-8-8 service will continue to be informed by ongoing engagement with provinces and territories, and organizations representing populations most affected by suicide.
By joining the 9-8-8 network, partners will continue to provide support to their communities, both through their existing crisis services and by taking calls and texts from 9-8-8. When someone reaches out to 9-8-8, wherever possible, they will be connected to the responder that is closest to them, based on their area code. A robust national Hub will provide additional capacity, taking calls and texts when a local responder is not available.
While work is underway to implement 9-8-8, people in Canada continue to have access to Talk Suicide Canada, which offers bilingual crisis and suicide prevention support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Talk Suicide can be reached at 1-833-456-4566 by phone, and by text (in the evenings) at 45645. Residents of Quebec can call 1-866-277-3553, text 535353, or visit suicide.ca for support by online chat. People in Canada can also find support from their local crisis or distress lines. Young people across Canada, including children, teenagers and young adults, can also reach out to Kids Help Phone for mental health support by phone, at 1-800-668-6868, or by text, at 686868.