What is 9-8-8?
9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Helpline is a new three-digit helpline that provides urgent, live support by phone and text to people in every province and territory across the country.
9-8-8 is available in English and French, 24 hours a day, every single day of the year across the country.
9-8-8 is for anyone thinking about suicide, or worried someone they know. Trained 9-8-8 responders will answer calls and texts and listen without judgement while providing support.
Who should call or text 9-8-8?
9-8-8 is for anyone who is thinking about suicide, or who is worried about someone they know.
Suicide prevention is the primary focus of 9-8-8, but no one who calls or texts the helpline will be turned away.
Everyone who contacts 9-8-8 will be assessed for suicide risk, and all 9-8-8 responders are trained to support people, whatever they are going through.
Who runs 9-8-8?
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Ontario is leading and coordinating the delivery of 9-8-8 nationwide.
A growing network of nearly 40 experienced local, provincial and territorial, and national crisis lines across the country provide culturally affirming, lifesaving support to people who call or text 9-8-8.
9-8-8 is funded by the Government of Canada, through the Public Health Agency of Canada.
What happens when I call 988?
When you call 9-8-8, before you are connected to a 9-8-8 responder, you will hear a brief pre-recorded message to let you know you are in the right place.
Most callers at this point will also hear a few short questions, such as whether you’d like to talk to someone English or French, if you are under 18, and if you would like to speak to a responder that has experience of supporting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. The message will also let you know how you can find out more about using the service, including about confidentiality.
In some parts of Canada, you will be put straight through to the existing crisis service for your province or territory and will hear a welcome message from that service.
All callers will be put through to a responder who will listen and provide support. If you need to wait for a short time, please stay with us – we will answer your call.
Whatever you are facing, 9-8-8 responders are here to help. No one who reaches out to 9-8-8 will be turned away.
What happens when I text 9-8-8?
When you text 9-8-8, you will first of all see some automated messages before you connect to the live text service.
You will be asked if you want to text in English or French, and will be sent a link to find out more about using the service, including about confidentiality.
You will reach a responder who will listen and provide support. If you need to wait for a short time, please stay with us – we will answer your text.
What languages does 9-8-8 provide?
9-8-8 is available 24/7 in English and French.
Support in languages other than English and French may be available by phone via a responder calling you back, or via translation services – just ask let the responder know that you would like an interpreter when you call.
9-8-8 is partnering with the Hope for Wellness Helpline, who specialize in supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. Hope for Wellness offers support in Cree, Ojibwe (Anishinaabemowin), and Inuktitut.
Can I access 9-8-8 if I am Deaf or Hard of Hearing?
If you are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, you can:
1. Use the Canada Video Relay Service (Canada VRS) to call 9-8-8.
- Canada VRS connects you to a video interpreter (VI) who facilitates the call in American Sign Language (ASL) or Langue des signes du Québec (LSQ).
- The service is free, and available 24/7, 365 days a year.
- To download and install the Canada VRS app, visit their website at https://srvcanadavrs.ca/.
- 9-8-8 responders have been trained to handle calls from people who use Canada VRS and work with interpreters to provide support.
2. Use Teletypewriter (TTY) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay Services
- Both TTY and IP relay services use a relay operator to read what you type to a responder, and transcribe what they are saying back to you.
- If you want to use TTY to call 9-8-8, dial 7-1-1 to reach a relay operator.
- If you want to use an IP Relay Service, you can log into a web portal using a device that is connected to the internet (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, computer).
- 9-8-8 responders have been trained to answer calls from people who use TTY and IP relay services.