The CRTC is seeking views on whether there is a need for a three-digit number for a national mental health crisis and suicide prevention service.
The number would be similar to the 9-8-8 three-digit code in the United States. The commission notes that it’s examining the advantages, challenges and costs associated with the deployment of a three-digit line.
“With physical distancing measures in place, the pandemic’s impact on mental health is even more apparent throughout the country. Suicide-related calls, texts and chats have increased across Canada,” said CRTC chairperson Ian Scott in a statement.
“We are asking Canadians and other interested parties for information to better understand the advantages and challenges associated with implementing a three-digit number for mental health crisis and suicide prevention services, and how any challenges can be overcome.”
One of the things the CRTC is considering is whether Canadians should be able to send text messages directly to the three-digit number. Further, it’s also considering whether the caller’s location information should be captured automatically when dialling the three-digit number.
Canadians are being invited to submit comments through an online form or by writing to the secretary general. Comments can be submitted until September 1st.
In the meantime, Canadians experiencing mental health distress can receive assistance by dialling 1-833-456-4566. Residents of Quebec are encouraged to call 1-866-APPELLE.