Healthlines – health support provided by phone – offer non-judgemental and confidential services. These have been created specifically to support people dealing with health issues like depression. They are manned by trained staff who are always ready to answer calls and offer support.
There are 2 types of healthlines
Health Lines (operated by nurses) provide a quick, free, and informal way to access mental health information and learn about resources in your community.
Crisis, Distress or Helplines (operated by volunteers trained in mental health, active listening, crisis and suicide assessment and intervention) provide us with someone we can talk to in the event of a crisis or even when we just need someone to reach out to in stressful times. You can even call these mental health and depression lines in the middle of the night.
These lines are available 24/7 in Canada, Australia, UK, US and many other countries.
Calling a healthline can seem intimidating, but it’s not that different from having a friend who’s a doctor we can call to find out what to do after spraining a knee. If you call and don’t find it useful, you can always say thanks and hang up, or try calling a different healthline.
Healthline staff won’t tell you what to do. Instead, they listen and provide information about services and treatment options, and are also there to offer support and guidance if you want it. You remain in control of your health and recovery.
You don’t think it’s an emergency and don’t want to waste their time
There is no minimum urgency level needed to make a call. Don’t worry about wasting their time if you don’t think you are in a ‘crisis’. It’s always better to prevent a crisis than to react to a crisis.
You don’t see the point and can’t see how they could help
Healthlines can usually point us to services and resources that we likely aren’t familiar with. On top of that, the very act of talking to someone about things that are bothering us can be really helpful, especially for guys who tend to keep things to themselves.
Healthlines offer anonymous and confidential services. Your calls aren’t recorded. You don’t have to state your name, and they won’t trace or tell anyone you called. In cases where someone is at imminent risk of hurting themselves, they may urge you to call 911 or ask if it’s okay to send help.
Find healthline numbers in your area
Write down the numbers for your area and keep them handy (add them to your phone or keep a note in your wallet). If you want or need to reach out, you’ll have the numbers near your fingertips. Unless noted otherwise, the numbers listed below operate 24 hours/7 days a week. (1-800, 1-877, and 1-888 numbers are toll free).
Talk Suicide Canada (1 833 456 4566): Provides immediate 24/7 help over the phone and also text message support during limited hours. Also features blogs, articles, and information regarding crisis support, and how to get help.
Samaritans (116 123): Provides immediate 24/7 help over the phone, and highlights information on how to get involved with a support group and how to deal with suicidal thoughts.
CALM (0800 58 58 58): The Campaign Against Living Miserably provides immediate 24/7 free and confidential help over the phone. They also organize campaigns that challenge male stereotypes and encourage getting support.
Search online based on your country, state, province, or city and the words “crisis phoneline,” “distress phoneline,” “helpline,” “mental health line,” or “nurse line” to find a healthline near you.
Call when you need support
It’s important we don’t hesitate to use a healthline when we need it. If you’re concerned about harming yourself, someone else, or ending your life, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital to get immediate, in-person support. See reach out in a crisis for more information.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you call:
Let them know what’s bothering you or what you want
If you’re stressed, worried, or depressed and it’s affecting your life, let them know.
“I can’t keep up with work (school). I’m feeling really overwhelmed.”
“I don’t have any energy these days, I don’t know where to start with getting better?”
“I’ve been struggling with depression and don’t really know how to get better. What services can I try?”
There’s no need to sugar-coat things. If you’re going through some pretty rough times – let them know. The best support comes from you being honest.
Don’t hide suicidal thoughts
Crisis lines exist to help people in times of suicidal crisis – it’s what they’re trained to do. Tell the person on the line what you are thinking and let them point you toward resources and services to get better. Suicidal thoughts are a symptom of depression and ignoring them won’t make they go away.