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CRTC consults public on three-digit mental health phone number

CRTC consults public on three-digit mental health phone number

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is seeking public input on the merits of the three-digit mental health and suicide prevention hotline, like the 9-1-1 emergency services.

In its brief published on 3 June, the commission pointed out that although Canada already has several mental health hotlines, people facing distress may find it difficult to find or remember their long phone numbers. A three-digit number is easier to reach and can potentially provide faster assistance.

The questionnaire asks the public about caller privacy, service deployment schedules, and whether text should be included as an option. However, being the body overseeing communications, the CRTC only controls how the three-digit number is implemented by companies and not the actual service.

According to the Government of Canada, 4,000 deaths in Canada each year are due to suicide, or about 11 deaths per day. During the peak of the pandemic, stringent social distancing efforts heightened tensions. CRTC and U.S. The Centers for Disease Control both noted a sharp increase in stress and anxiety. In addition, the CRTC underscored a significant number of calls, texts and chats related to suicide.

To participate, Canadians can fill out an online form or write a letter to the CRTC before September 1, 2021. In the meantime, Canadians facing a mental health crisis can reach Crisis Service Canada at 1-833-456-4566. Quebec residents can call 1-866-APEL.

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