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6 phone numbers you need in a crisis

October 10, 2019 by Jumol Royes

Illustration of hands reaching for telephone.
Illustration by Michele Perry

These are the GTA digits to dial for help with suicide intervention, sexual assault, mental-health crises and more

We all know the emergency services number 911 by heart. But who do we call if we find ourselves (or our kids) desperately in need of someone to talk to, or to connect us to resources that 911 doesn’t cover?

“I felt so alone and didn’t know where to go,” says one 55-year-old client who was in distress when he picked up the phone and called York Support Services Network Community Crisis Response Service, one of the organizations below. “They connected me to their Short-Term Crisis Bed Program, and we worked on a plan, which gave me a chance to get away from my situation.”

Whether you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed or in distress, these Greater Toronto Area crisis and support services are here to help. Keep them handy to connect immediately with a counsellor or trained volunteer who cares.

NOTE: If you’re in personal danger or planning to harm others, call 911 immediately. If you need urgent psychiatric or medical attention, go to the emergency room at your nearest hospital.

1. Toronto Rape Crisis Centre / Multicultural Women Against Rape
Call: (416) 597-8808
Text: 647-424-1134
Live chat
Who they serve: Anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted or abused, or has experienced unwanted sexual touching; incest survivors; and survivors of childhood and adult sexual assault. This organization also helps families and friends of people who have experienced any of these situations.
When you can call: The phoneline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including all holidays. Text and live chat are available Wednesdays to Sundays from 7 p.m. to midnight.

2. Distress Centres of Greater Toronto (formerly Spectra Helpline)
Call: (416) 408-4357 
Who they serve: People in distress in Peel Region can access this United Way-funded hotline for confidential crisis support and suicide intervention.
When you can call: The English helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Multilingual helplines are open Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.; languages include Cantonese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

3. Kids Help Phone
Call: 1-800-668-6868 
Text: 686868
Who they serve: Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only national (and bilingual, in English and French) support service for young people.
When you can call: 24 hours a day, seven days a week

4. York Support Services Network Community Crisis Response Service
Call: 1-855-310-COPE (2673)
Text: 1-855-310-2673
Live chat
Who they serve: Individuals throughout York Region and South Simcoe who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Their family and friends can call the United Way-funded agency for advice and support, too.
When you can call: 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please note that text and online chat are not available 24/7.

5. LGBT Youth Line
Text: 647-694-4275
Live chat
Who they serve: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, queer and questioning youth who want to talk with a peer support volunteer.
When you can call: Sunday to Friday between 4 and 9:30 p.m.

6. Findhelp
Call or text: 2-1-1
Who they serve: This United Way-supported service is open to Ontarians looking for information on community-based health, social and government services or supports in or near their community, from basic needs like housing and food, to support for seniors and children, to crisis response.
When you can call: 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with interpretation in 150+ languages

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