What Happens When You Call
September 24, 2018
Since its launch in November 2017, thousands of people across Canada have contacted the Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS). Reaching out is a critical first step for people thinking about suicide, but sometimes people feel scared and aren’t sure what will happen when they call. The answers below provide some basic information that hopefully will give courage to those thinking about making the call.
Where does my call go?
When you call CSPS, your call will be routed to one of the crisis centres on the CSPS network. Usually the call will go to the closest crisis centre, but if the lines are busy, it may route on to another centre. If you find you are having trouble getting through due to unusually high demand, don’t give up. Stay on the line or call again. If you are in need of immediate medical assistance, please call 911.
Who answers a call to CSPS?
Whichever centre your call goes to, all calls will be answered by a caring and trained suicide prevention responder. All the centres on the CSPS network must meet strict standards that includes the comprehensive training, supervision and ongoing skills development of its responders.
Will I Be Asked Lots of Personal Questions?
CSPS responders are trained to listen, to give you the time you need to talk, and to support you. They may ask some questions to better understand your situation, but calls are confidential, and the focus is on giving you the space to talk through any issues or concerns you may have. When appropriate, they may tell you about additional support services or resources in your area that can help.
Will You Call the Police?
In the vast majority of calls, police (or any authority) will not be involved. If emergency help is needed, the responder will make every effort to talk it through in order to get permission first.
Having said that, if a caller is actively suicidal and in imminent danger of hurting themselves, it is possible that emergency services may be called without prior permission. Our goal is to keep every caller in need safe. This option would only be taken if there was an imminent risk and, again, it happens in only a small number of cases.
Can You Really Help?
In more than 70% of calls to CSPS, the caller either stated or implied an increase in ability to cope as a result of making that call. CSPS responders are caring individuals who are committed to doing their best to provide helpful support.
Ready to Make the Call?
Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS) is available 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566. For a list of local crisis centres across Canada see:
If you or someone you care about needs assistance or help related to suicide, connect with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year:
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services in Canada
For residents of Quebec, call 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277 3553)