Le Lézard
Classified in: Health
Subjects: CHI, CFG

Government of Canada Announces Kids Help Phone as 9-8-8 Network partner

The national organization will provide suicide crisis support as part of the 9-8-8 network 

TORONTO, Nov. 17, 2023 /CNW/ - 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.


"Young people across Canada are facing a mental health crisis and it's crucial that they receive suicide prevention supports that are most relevant to them, whenever and wherever they need it. Kids Help Phone has spent years supporting children and youth across the country and developing specialized expertise. They are and will be a valued partner in the 9-8-8 network to make sure young people get suicide prevention support when they need it most."

The Honourable Ya'ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health 

"We're thrilled that Kids Help Phone is joining 9-8-8 as a national partner. Suicide is a leading cause of death for young people. To avoid this tragic outcome, we need to ensure that youth can reach trained responders who can help forge lifesaving connections. With their considerable expertise helping children and youth, Kids Help Phone is greatly adding to our capacity to connect with young people across the country."

Dr. Allison Crawford
Chief Medical Officer, 9-8-8 and Talk Suicide Canada and Psychiatrist, CAMH

"Kids Help Phone is proud to be a national partner for the life-saving 9-8-8 service. We stand with the Government of Canada, CAMH and the 9-8-8 partners, who like KHP, continue to champion and invest in the mental health and well-being of young people from coast to coast to coast. For over 34 years Kids Help Phone has been on the virtual frontlines for youth mental health. We speak to young people every single day, with 22 per cent of the interactions with KHP about suicide.  When young people reach out to 9-8-8, we will be there on the other side of the phone or text. They are not alone."

Katherine Hay
President and CEO, Kids Help Phone

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SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

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