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Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to implement new 9-8-8 number for mental health crisis and suicide prevention

According to a new release from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), it will adopt 9-8-8 as the number to call or text for Canadians who are in need of immediate mental health crisis and suicide prevention intervention. Once implemented by telephone and wireless service providers, calls and texts to 9-8-8 will be directed to a mental health crisis or suicide prevention service, free of charge.

Much like the change already adopted in the United States, the implementation of 9-8-8 as an easy-to-remember three-digit number will help reduce barriers to mental health and suicide prevention resources. The number will enable greater access regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status as it will be available from coast to coast, 24/7 and free of charge. Furthermore, the ability to text to 9-8-8 will ensure that people in crisis who are unable to safely call, or prefer texting, are able to obtain counselling.

Currently, people in Canada who are experiencing mental health distress can obtain assistance through Talk Suicide Canada by dialing toll-free 1-833-456-4566. Residents of Quebec are encouraged to call 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553). Talk Suicide Canada’s text service is available in the evenings from 4:00 p.m. to midnight EST by texting 45645.

For more information, visit the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission website.

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