Public libraries have been a hub for community information and that includes providing customers with referrals to local and regional crisis centres. In the past, this information was made available via traditional means including posters, pamphlets and handouts. In today’s world, this is not always feasible but that does not mean the information is not available.
Online directories and government websites provide access to crisis and mental health resources. Library staff are increasingly responding to situations and incidents that require them to learn about how to respond to customers with mental health issues and this may include providing a list of agencies in the community that can assist.
Please check with your own municipal agencies and organizations as the following tools are intended to be used as resources of a more general nature.
Distress and Crisis Information for Ontario
Websites and phone numbers for distress and crisis supports in Ontario.
eMental Health.ca – Ontario
Crisis and Emergency – Refers to all programs that provide immediate assistance for people who are currently experiencing severe emotional distress; for any situation that is life-threatening, or poses harm to someone; or unable to cope with a problem that demands immediate attention. Crisis services help deal with the immediate crisis, and restore people back to their original (higher) level of function so that they can identify and deal with their problems.
Crisis Lines including Telephone, Online and Chat – Is someone in a crisis? Crisis lines offer free, immediate and confidential one-on-one assistance to callers in need and usually operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are generally staffed by either paid professionals or trained volunteers.
Emergency Shelter and Housing – Emergency shelters are places for people to live temporarily when they don’t have a place to stay. Emergency shelters (such as women’s shelters) are primarily meant for those fleeing an abusive relationship, sexual abuse or domestic violence. Some shelters limit their clientele by gender or age. Homeless shelters are temporary places to stay, usually meant for homeless people. Usually located in downtown areas, they are similar to emergency shelters. The main difference is that homeless shelters are usually open to anyone, without regard to the reason for need. Some shelters limit their clientele by gender or age.
Women’s Shelters – Women’s shelters are places where women (and their children) can go to stay and are typically for women fleeing domestic violence from their partners or spouses. Women’s shelters offer safe, temporary housing and usually other services to enable a return to independent living such as counselling and referrals to community resources.
Assaulted Women’s Helpline – The Assaulted Women’s Helpline offers a 24-hour telephone and TTY crisis line to all woman who have experienced abuse.
- Phone: 1-866-863-0511
- TTY: 1-866-863-7868
- Website: Assaulted Women’s Helpline
CAMH – When in need of someone to talk to. Operated by various agencies. Open 24 hours a day (unless otherwise indicated):
- Toronto Distress Centres: 416 408-4357 or 408-HELP
- Gerstein Centre: 416 929-5200
- Spectra Helpline: 416 920-0497 or 905 459-7777 for Brampton and Mississauga residents
TTY: 905 278-4890; Languages: English, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish, Portuguese
- Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 416 863-0511; Toll-free: 1 866 863-0511
- Community Crisis Line Scarborough and Rouge Hospital: 416 495-2891 for 24/7 telephone crisis support.
Service borders: south to the lake, north to Steeles Avenue, east to Port Union Road, and west to Victoria Park
- Website: CAMH
Children’s Aid Society – Locate a Children’s Aid Society in Ontario
- Phone: Find the number for your local society via the website
- Website: Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
Connex Ontario – Provides treatment service information if you have problems with gambling, drugs, alcohol, or mental health.
- Phone: 1-866-531-2600
- Website: Connex Ontario
Crisis Services Canada – Suicide prevention and support.
- Phone: 1-833-456-4566
- Website: Crisis Services Canada
Distress and Crisis Ontario – At a DC you can find a listening ear for lonely, depressed, and/or suicidal people, usually 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many centres also have Suicide Survivor programs, support services for youth, telephone call out programs for seniors and vulnerable people, mental health Crisis Lines services, and much more.
- Phone: Find the number for your local centre via the website
- Website: Distress and Crisis Ontario
Kids Help Phone – Canada’s only 24/7, national support service.
- Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- Website: Kids Help Line
Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline – The Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline provides information about problem gambling services in Ontario.
- Phone: 1-888-230-3505
- Website: Connex Ontario
Shelter Safe – The agencies website allows you to quickly identify a shelter in a specific geographic area along with its 24 hour emergency phone number.
Community Information Resources
- 211 Ontario – Find programs and services in your community.
- 211 Central – a website of over 20,000 community, health, social and related government services – a reliable resource for anyone looking for human services in Toronto, Durham, York or Peel.
- Online Community Information Databases Across Ontario – Connecting people with services.
- Telehealth Ontario – Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential service you can call to get health advice or information.
- Phone: 1-866-797-0000