Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee has issued the following statement:
“Today marks an important milestone for mental health and suicide prevention. The Government of Canada has introduced the national 9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Helpline, a simple three-digit number that anyone can now call or text for help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“This service offers support in both English and French and is sensitive to different cultural needs. It’s available to anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and despair about the future, here in the Yukon and across Canada.
“Funded by the Government of Canada and delivered in collaboration with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and their partners, the 9-8-8 Helpline supports our commitment to helping people who are going through a hard time, no matter where they are. In the Yukon, this service is being delivered by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Yukon Division, ensuring that the support provided is tailored to the unique needs of the territory.
“Suicide is a public health issue that affects all of us. Tragically, Canada sees an average of 12 suicides per day, with certain groups being disproportionately impacted. The 9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Helpline is here to help, offering timely and compassionate support.
“It’s important to remember that we can help protect our youth from suicide. Key factors include having a supportive adult in their lives, feeling connected to their school and community, delaying use or staying away from drugs and alcohol, building positive friendships, and maintaining good mental health. These factors can make a big difference in a young person’s life, helping them feel safe, valued and heard.
“The crisis responders answering the 9-8-8 Helpline are trained to provide a safe and confidential place for people to talk about their feelings and get help. They listen with kindness and understanding, making sure everyone who calls or texts feels heard and supported.
“Other important sources of help remain available. The Reach Out Support Line, which Yukoners can call at 1-844-533-3030 any time, is one of them. Run by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Yukon Division, this line offers confidential and supportive help from trained volunteers for any kind of problem, big or small.
“Other vital resources are the Hope for Wellness Helpline for Indigenous Peoples at 1-855-242-3310 and Kids Help Phone – at 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT at 686868 – a great resource for young people. These services are now part of the 9-8-8 network, making support for everyone even stronger.
“For local support in the Yukon, Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services Rapid Access Counselling is available by appointment Monday through Friday in-person, virtually or by phone at 867-456-3838 or toll free at 1-866-456-3838.
“I encourage Yukoners interested in learning how to offer suicide first aid to join the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training – ASIS 002 – at Yukon University. This two-day workshop is a chance to learn important skills. It teaches how to recognize people who might be at risk of suicide and understand their struggles and make plans to help keep them safe.
“The introduction of the 9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Helpline is a key step in supporting our dedication to mental health and suicide prevention. It ensures that anyone facing a crisis can find the help they need. I encourage all Yukoners to share information about the 9-8-8 Helpline, as we strive to create a community that is both caring and resilient.”