If you are struggling with your mental health or concerned about a loved one, consider contacting a helpline for quick and free support. 13 helplines and hotlines are available in Canada.
It's common to feel some anxiety about contacting a helpline. Learn more about what helplines offer so you can decide if it's right for you.
Helplines offer immediate mental health support to the public for free. When you contact a helpline, you will receive confidential counseling support either over the phone, text message or online chat. In some countries, helplines are also known as hotlines or crisis lines.
Whether you just need someone to listen to you, or you're looking for more practical advice, a helpline responder can support you in the way you need. They will commonly ask questions to help you process your emotions, and may help you form a plan so you can feel more in control.
When you contact a helpline, you'll commonly speak to a volunteer or counselor who has been trained in crisis counseling or active listening, and is equipped to support you. Some helplines are operated by people who have a similar experience to the issue or topic that the helpline supports.
Helplines are there for anyone who might be in need of free support for mental and behavioral health problems. If you are struggling with something specific, such as suicide, depression, anxiety, or domestic violence, there are often helplines that cater specifically to these issues. You may also be able to contact a helpline related to your demographic, such as helplines that are specifically for teenagers, veterans or the LGBTQ+ community. A lot of helplines provide support for a variety of mental and behavioral health issues, so you can talk with them about anything that is concerning you.
Most countries have a suicide hotline or suicide prevention line (often called a lifeline or crisis line) available 24/7. These helplines provide compassionate support for people who might be having feelings of wanting to die or kill themselves. Commonly, suicide hotlines will also support anyone, regardless of what they are going through.
It can be worrying when a friend or family member is struggling with their mental health or experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Helplines will support you to better help your loved one, whether that is actions you could take to support them, or external support they might be able to access.
In Canada, there are 13 hotlines and helplines that support with a range of topics.
Today, there are over 2,000 helplines and hotlines across the world. While they may support different topics and populations, each and every one of them share the same goal: to help those experiencing emotional or mental distress to get through the current pain and find a meaningful path forward. When you feel alone, hopeless or stuck, having a conversation on a helpline can help you feel heard, supported and empowered.