If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health problem and is in crisis, call toll free, 24 hours a day.
WITHIN OTTAWA 613-722-6914
OUTSIDE OTTAWA 1-866-996-0991

What are the geographic areas that can access the Mental Health Crisis Line?

The Mental Health Crisis Line covers the City of Ottawa as well as Renfrew County, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Counties, Akwesasne and Prescott & Russell Counties. These are all within Eastern Ontario.

Who am I talking to when I call the Mental Health Crisis Line?

Distress Centre volunteers who have been trained by the Centre's mental health professionals. Each of the volunteers participates in a rigorous screening process and professional training using the latest techniques and materials available.

The training program involves a minimum of 59 hours, which includes 2 full days of suicide intervention training. The training is consistent with the accreditation standards for the Distress Centres of Ontario. The training incorporates active listening, crisis intervention, mental illness, bereavement, etc. It is an interactive process (role playing/videos). There is a minimum of two (2) observation shifts with an experienced volunteer.

In addition, professional development in-service training opportunities are offered once or twice yearly. Sessions for special circumstances are organized on an as needed basis.

Who should use the Mental Health Crisis Line?

The Mental Health Crisis Line is designed to handle mental health crises, including those arising from an identifiable mental illness, either on the telephone or through a connection to the local mental health crisis teams. This service is for individuals 16 years of age or older.

If you, a family member or friend are experiencing a serious mental health problem including situational crisis, psychosis, severe depression or anxiety, or suicidal thoughts (not needing immediate medical attention), the Mental Health Crisis Line is the most immediate access to a range of crisis services. These services are designed to support people in their own environment and minimize the need to be hospitalized.

Do you have to be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder to use the Mental Health Crisis Line?

No, you don't have to be diagnosed, currently in treatment or receiving services in any part of the system. Family members of adults suffering in a mental health crisis can also use this Crisis Line.

Will I have to wait long for my call to be answered?

The average wait time is usually under two minutes. However, during periods where there is a very high volume of calls, wait time of up to 10 minutes have been experienced. If you feel that you cannot wait for your call to be answered and that your situation is an emergency, you may want to seek help from police or ambulance by calling "911".

What can I expect when I call the Mental Health Crisis Line?

You will be asked for some basic information to assess safety and risk. Then we will focus on your immediate crisis and assist in finding solutions that work for you. We may be able to provide you with other relevant resources.

What happens if the crisis cannot be alleviated or resolved over the phone?

With your consent as well as your name and phone number, you will be connected to the professional local crisis team in your area, which could come to your home or make arrangements to meet you at another location.

Montfort Hospital The Ottawa Hospital Cornwall Community Hospital Pembroke Regional Hospital Distress Centre