Friday, September 2, 2022

Emergency mental help number coming

Canadians who need mental health rescue will be able to dial 9-8-8 for emergency help, beginning in November next year.

It’s particularly relevant in cases of suicide attempts.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission made the announcement recently, responding to federal legislation passed in December, 2020.

The United States has had national 9-8-8 service since July.

Canada’s fall 2023 target gives communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, northern Ontario and Yellowknife enough time to transition to 10-digit local dialing. These areas still use seven-digit dialing, the CRTC said.

“We are taking a significant step in making mental health and suicide prevention resources more accessible to everyone in Canada,” said Ian Scott, chairperson and chief executive officer of the CRTC.

 “A single, easy to remember point of contact will provide much-needed help to those in crisis and will be crucial to saving lives. Although much work is left to be done to bring help to people who need it, we have set accelerated timelines to ensure that 9-8-8 is implemented as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”

Todd Doherty, the MP for Cariboo-Prince George, introduced a bill in December 2020 to establish 9-8-8 and it quickly received unanimous approval.