No one will be turned away’: 988 suicide crisis helpline launches across Canada – Not Local

November 30, 2023

TORONTO — A new toll-free, three-digit suicide prevention helpline launched across Canada on Thursday morning.

People having suicidal thoughts or other mental health distress can now call or text 988 to reach a trained responder 24 hours a day, seven days a week — no matter where they live in the country.

“My main message that I want to say to Canadians is that we see you, we hear you, and that you’re not alone. That if you are struggling … there is a low-barrier, easy access, warm voice on the other end of the line,” said Ya’ara Saks, federal minister of mental health and addictions, in an interview before the launch.

About 12 people die by suicide in Canada every day, adding up to about 4,500 lives lost each year, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. More than 200 people in Canada attempt suicide every day.

The $158.4-million project is funded and overseen by the public health agency and led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

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