Preventing suicide: When and how to help
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call or text 9-8-8. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline.
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When to get help
If someone is thinking or talking about suicide or death, or has a plan to end their life, it's important to seek help.
It's important to know that asking someone if they're thinking about suicide won't increase the risk. Asking can lead to important conversations.
Suicide is the result of many complex factors and these may be different from person to person. Although it's very difficult to predict who might end their life, signs and behaviours that suggest someone may need help include:
- that they are a burden
- like they have no purpose in life or reason for living
- trapped or that there’s no other way out of a situation
- hopeless about the future or like life will never get better
Behaviours such as:
- being agitated
- changing eating habits
- changing sleeping habits
- giving away their possessions
- increasing substance use, like drugs, alcohol and inhalants
- withdrawing from family, friends or activities they normally enjoy
- saying goodbye or talking about what will happen after their death
- anxiety or significant mood changes, such as anger, sadness or helplessness
- talking about being a burden to someone or about being in unbearable pain
- increasing high risk behaviours such as reckless driving, dangerous sports or activities
There is help if you need to talk and you:
- have emotional pain
- are not feeling like yourself
- know someone who needs help
- are experiencing emotional distress
You can contact the following organizations:
9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call or text 9-8-8. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline offers support that is:
- culturally appropriate
- available to anyone in Canada
Kids Help Phone
Call 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free) or text CONNECT to 686868.
Available 24 hours, 7 days a week a day to Canadians aged 5 to 29 who want confidential and anonymous care from professional counsellors.
Hope for Wellness Help Line
Call 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free), connect to the online Hope for Wellness chat, or text WELLNESS to 741741. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Available to all Indigenous peoples across Canada who need immediate crisis intervention. Experienced and culturally-sensitive help line counsellors can help if you want to talk or are distressed.
Telephone and online counselling are available in English and French. On request, telephone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.
How to help someone in emotional distress
Talking honestly, responsibly and safely about suicide can help you determine if someone needs help. If you want to help someone experiencing emotional distress, try:
- connecting them with a:
- crisis line
- trusted person
- letting them know you care
- listening and showing concern
- talking with them and reassuring them that they're not alone
For more information
- Mental health support: Get help
- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
- For Veterans: Talk to a Professional Now
- Mental health resources for Canadian Armed Forces members and families
- Mental health and wellness for First Nations and Inuit
- Culture for Life
- We Matter
- The Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention: 2022 Progress Report
- Working Together to Prevent Suicide in Canada: the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention
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