Illustrations by Michele Perry

6 phone numbers you need in a crisis

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.

1The number: (416) 597-8808
Who you’ll reach: Toronto Rape Crisis Centre / Multicultural Women Against Rape
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: 24 hours a day, seven days a week

2The number: (905) 459-7777
Who you’ll reach: Distress Centres of Greater Toronto (formerly Spectra Helpline)
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.

3The number: 1-800-668-6868
Who you’ll reach: Kids Help Phone
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

4The number: 1-855-310-COPE (2673)
Who you’ll reach: York Support Services Network Community Crisis Response Service
Who they serve: Individuals throughout York Region and South Simcoe who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Their family and friends can call for advice and support, too.
When you can call: 24 hours a day, seven days a week

5The numbers: 1-800-268-9688 or (416) 962-9688 (Toronto area)
Who you’ll reach: LGBT Youth Line
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.

6The number: 211
Who you’ll reach: 211 Central (a service of Findhelp)
Who they serve: Anybody in need of community and social services and referrals in the Central Region (Toronto, Durham, Peel and York). You can access free support in more than 150 languages from this United Way–supported service.
When you can call: 24 hours a day, seven days a week

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