The three-digit number will be operational by fall 2023
By Diego Flammini
A mental health organization dedicated to supporting members of Canada’s ag community is pleased a new three-digit mental health number is coming to Canada.
“The Do More Agriculture Foundation has been a vocal supporter of creating a national three-digit mental health crisis line,” Megz Reynolds, Do More Ag’s executive director, told Farms.com.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced last week that beginning in November 2023, Canadians experiencing a mental health crisis can dial of text 9-8-8 for support.
The U.S. launched 9-8-8 as its national mental health hotline in July.
Do More Ag plans to support the mental health responders.
Farm Management Canada’s Healthy Minds Healthy Farms report found “farmers are more likely to participate in support programs offered by providers familiar with agriculture and that cater to the unique needs of farmers.”
Do More Ag’s literacy program, AgCulture, could be a benefit to responders, Reynolds said.
“We are thankful for the CRTC’s announcement to launch in the fall of 2023 and will be working on delivering Do More’s agriculture literacy program to the mental health clinicians supporting the line,” she said.
A Conservative MP spearheaded the movement to bring a three-digit suicide prevention hotline to Canada.
Todd Doherty, the MP for Cariboo-Prince George, introduced a bill in December 2020 to establish 9-8-8 in Canada. Parliament unanimously approved the bill that month.
Doherty has a personal connection to suicide, losing his friend Kenny at 14-years-old.
Upon the CRTC’s announcement to bring 9-8-8 to Canada, Doherty posted a message on social media.
“I just got word that the CRTC is going to adopt our push to implement 9-8-8, giving Canada a simple three-digit suicide hotline, and I’m moved to tears,” he said from inside his car. “I’m thankful for everybody that brought their voice forward to get this done. It’s so needed, and just a heartfelt thanks.”
If you or someone you know needs mental health support, multiple resources are available:
- Talk Suicide Canada – 1-833-456-4566 (1-866-277-3553 in Quebec)
- Adults can text 641741 and youth can text 686868
- Residents of Quebec can text 1-855-957-5353
Farms.com has also compiled a list of mental health supports available in each province.