A new three-digit suicide prevention hotline for Canadians facing mental health issues will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, starting today. Led by CAMH and funded by the PHAC, the 988 hotline will provide a 24/7 texting and calling service. The hotline will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. According to CAMH, about 12 Canadians die by suicide each day, representing 4,500 deaths annually. The aim of the 988 hotline is to reduce the risk of suicide by making it easier for people to get help. Over 1,000 people have already been trained as responders, and that training will continue, according to CAMH. Responders will be trained to assess suicide risk, provide coping techniques, and work together to create safety plans.
A similar service, the 988 hotline, was launched 18 months ago in the US. CAMH says that the 988 hotline is for anyone who is considering suicide or who is worried about someone close to them. CAMH adds that anyone who calls the 988 hotline will be evaluated for suicidal risk. People may call or text the 988 hotline multiple times depending on the type of support they need.