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When urgent help is needed: Who to call if your family is experiencing a mental health crisis

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre | January 25, 2024 | 3 min read

We all need help throughout life. Sometimes, you or your family may experience a mental health crisis that requires immediate help. With the recent release of Canada’s new suicide prevention hotline (988), you may be wondering what crisis lines are available, and who to call depending on your situation.

The first thing to remember is that there is no wrong thing to do. If you call any of the following crisis lines, someone will be there to listen and talk through things with you. They will also be able to give you information about other services in your area so you feel supported.

If your child is having a mental health or substance use crisis and needs immediate help:

  • Call 911 or go to your local hospital’s emergency room (ER). If it is unsafe for you to take your child to the ER, call 911 to assist you. Let the call taker know this is a "child/youth mental health emergency”.

There are a few examples of times when you should seek immediate help:

If your child is...

  • Thinking about and has a plan of trying to end their life
  • Seeing, hearing or feeling things that aren’t real and/or has beliefs that can’t possibly be true
  • Experiencing an alcohol or drug overdose, or has taken a dangerous combination of substances (like medications and alcohol) 
  • Showing behaviour that is putting them or others at risk of immediate serious harm


If you are ever unsure about whether or not your need immediate help, please call 911.

If your child is thinking about ending their own life, or needs someone to talk to about suicidal thoughts or ideas:

  • Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) for the BC Suicide Prevention and Intervention Line. Available in over 140 languages using a language service.
  • Call 1-800-588-8717 for the BC KUU-US Indigenous Crisis and Support Line.  
  • Call or text 988 for the National Suicide Crisis Helpline. Available in English and French.

If your child needs mental health or substance use crisis support:

  • Call 310-6789 for the BC Mental Health Support Line anytime for emotional support, information and resources. Available in over 140 languages using a language service.

If your child doesn't need immediate help, you can reach out for support by:


No matter what you and your family are going through, there is support available. You also deserve to give yourself the love, care and attention you so often give to others. Taking care of your own needs is not only important for your mental health and well-being, but it also supports you to be there for your child and family.

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