Help Is Here
Many Canadians find the holidays to be challenging, with more than half of Canadians saying that the holiday season can be a source of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Fortunately, this holiday season accessing help became easier. Beginning November 30th, Canadians in crisis from coast-to-coast will be able to call or text 9-8-8 and obtain counselling free of charge.
This new three-digit number aims to provide accessible and timely support to individuals in crisis, offering hope and saving lives. I was proud to vote in favour of establishing this hotline when my Conservative colleague, Member of Parliament Todd Doherty, introduced it in 2020. Since then, Canadians have waited years for 9-8-8 to be implemented; during this time, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of accessible mental health resources.
This easily-remembered number allows individuals in distress to swiftly connect with trained professionals. 9-8-8 operates 24/7, providing immediate assistance and reducing barriers that may prevent someone from reaching out for help. Regardless of socioeconomic status or geography, 9-8-8 allows for better access to support.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health led the coordination of services for 9-8-8 with input from Provinces and Territories, Indigenous partners, crisis services, mental health experts, individuals with lived experience, and public safety officials. 9-8-8 will save the lives of Canadians who feel they have nowhere else to turn. By providing accessible, empathetic, and immediate support, this hotline serves as a beacon of hope, reducing the barriers to seeking help and saving lives.
If you or a loved one are struggling with your mental health, know that help is more accessible than ever. Please do not hesitate to call or text 9-8-8 any time you are in need of mental health crisis or suicide prevention intervention, and be sure to share this information with anyone who may be struggling.