Suicide Crisis Helpline 9-8-8 Launches
November 30, 2023
Nova Scotians thinking about attempting suicide or worried about someone else who may be thinking about suicide now have another place to turn to for help.
The new 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline provides urgent, live, trauma-informed support by phone and text 24 hours a day, every day of the year. As of today, November 30, it is available in every province and territory in Canada.
“From the very beginning, Nova Scotia has been a champion for an easy to remember, three-digit number for Nova Scotians to call or text when they are in a crisis,” said Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health. “The launch of the new line provides Nova Scotians another place to turn when they need help. This builds on the many mental health and addictions resources available in our province, including our 24/7 mental health and addictions crisis line and our mental health and addictions intake service.”
The 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline, available across the country, is funded by the Government of Canada, managed by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and delivered through mental health partners in provinces and territories.
Staff from Nova Scotia Health, IWK Health and the Office of Addictions and Mental Health have been active participants in the planning and launch of 9-8-8.
People who call or text 9-8-8 can communicate with trained crisis responders in either English or French. The new line will also help streamline access to other national resources. For example:
- through 9-8-8, Indigenous people will also be able to access the Hope for Wellness Helpline, which provides immediate, non-judgmental, culturally competent and trauma-informed emotional support, crisis intervention or referrals to community-based services
- children and young adults in Canada in need of mental health supports and crisis services will also be able to connect with Kids Help Phone.
Nova Scotians can continue to access the provincial mental health and addictions crisis line toll-free at 1-888-429-8167, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for themselves or someone they are concerned about. The provincial crisis line connects Nova Scotians to trained clinicians and is available to anyone across the province. The 9-8-8 service is intended to provide an additional, three-digit option.
- an average of 12 people die by suicide every day in Canada
- calls and texts to 9-8-8 are confidential – no personally identifiable information will be disclosed or shared outside of the 9-8-8 network, except as required or permitted by law, or in cases where emergency intervention is required for a person’s safety and well-being
- Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) and the Hope for Wellness Helpline (1-855-242-3310) will retain their existing toll-free numbers should Nova Scotians wish to contact them directly
For non-crisis support, people needing treatment and care for mental health and addictions can contact the mental health and addictions intake service at 1-855-922-1122 to be matched with appropriate services
Mental health services in Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/mental-health-and-wellbeing/
Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/actionforhealth/
Mandate letter for the Minister of Addictions and Mental Health: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-CNS-AMH-Youth.pdf