Call or text these numbers if you’re struggling with mental health issues, self-harm, feelings of loneliness, questions of gender identity and sexual orientation and more…
By Jumol Royes
One courageous phone call has the power to transform and save lives.
That’s a common sentiment echoed by people who have used or volunteered with a crisis or helpline.
“It was so helpful to have someone to chat to that I knew wouldn’t be judgmental,” said a service user of LGBT YouthLine, an Ontario-wide helpline for 2SLGBTQI+ youth.
For 2SLGBTQI+ individuals struggling with addiction, mental health issues, thoughts of suicide, self-harm, feelings of loneliness and social isolation and questions of gender identity and sexual orientation, helplines can be a bright light in dark moments of despair, particularly for those in remote communities.
“I don’t think I can ever forget the time a young teen living in rural Northern Ontario thanked us for being the only help they could access,” added a YouthLine peer support volunteer. “It was extremely bittersweet and reminded me of how important our work really is.”
If you or someone you know needs emotional support, crisis intervention or assistance connecting to services, these 2SLGBTQI+ crisis and helplines can help.
Note: If you’re in immediate danger or planning to harm others, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital.
The digits: Call 1-844-70-BRITE (1-844-702-7483)
Who you’ll connect with: Brite Line (Edmonton, AB)
Who they support and how they help: Supported in part by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Brite Lite is Edmonton’s first mental health and wellness helpline serving 2SLGBTQI+ communities by providing a confidential call service for 2SLGBTQI+ individuals of all ages. Responders trained in crisis intervention listen and explore options while providing non-judgmental emotional support.
When they’re available: 24/7.
The digits: Call 1-855-87-PRIDE (1-855-877-7433)
Who you’ll connect with: Prideline Durham (Durham Region, ON)
Who they support and how they help: Prideline Durham, operated by Distress Centres of Durham, provides emotional support, crisis intervention and community resource navigation specific to Durham’s 2SLGBTQI+ communities. They help 2SLGBTQI+ individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts, bullying or isolation, problems at work or who are at risk of homelessness, as well as individuals questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation or seeking 2SLGBTQI+ friendly services.
When they’re available: 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.
The digits: Text 647-694-4275
Who you’ll connect with: LGBT YouthLine (Ontario-wide)
Who they support and how they help: Offers an anonymous and confidential service for 2SLGBTQI+ youth in Ontario 29 and under through text and chat support. HelpLine volunteers are trained peer supporters aged 16 to 19 with 2SLGBTQI+ lived experience. They help youth who are questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation, feeling lonely or socially isolated, experiencing challenges related to coming out, mental health or family and relationships, or need referrals to community supports and social services.
When they’re available: Sunday to Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for text and chat support. Chat support can be accessed by clicking the chat button at the top of their website.
The digits: Call 1-877-330-6366
Who you’ll connect with: Trans Lifeline
Who they support and how they help: A peer support phone service run by and for trans people and questioning peers. Calls to this anonymous and confidential hotline are answered by trans or non-binary peer operators who are there to listen and provide emotional support if you need someone trans to talk to, even if you’re not experiencing a crisis or sure you’re trans.
When they’re available: Hotline operators go on a two-week break from December 18, 2023, to January 1, 2024. The hotline’s new operating hours as of January 1, 2024, will be Monday through Friday, 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET, with plans to reopen the hotline on Saturday and Sunday later in the year.
For more information about 2SLGBTQI+ crisis and helplines, and other 2SLGBTQI+ programs, services and supports, visit the IN Directory, Canada’s national 2SLGBTQI+ community resource directory: inmagazine.ca/directory.
JUMOL ROYES is IN Magazine’s director of communications and community engagement, an Ottawa-based poet and storyteller and glass-half-full kinda guy. He writes about compassion, community, identity and belonging. His guilty pleasure is watching the Real Housewives. Follow him on Instagram @jumolroyes.