Updated: Jan 21
The mental health system in Canada is—let's say—complex. If you find yourself in a position where you or your loved one is struggling, would you know where to turn, who to call, or where to go? If you don't, you're not alone. The good news is that there are thousands of programs available country-wide that can help you on your path to recovery. To help get you started, we partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto to compile a list of free mental health resources. These services connect you with mental health professionals directly, through text, call, e-mail and live chat.
What would you add to the list? Let us know and we will create an ongoing resource for anyone struggling with their mental health.
*If you are in crisis, please call 911.
1. Wellness Together Canada
Wellness Together Canada is a free mental health and substance use website to support people across Canada and Canadians living abroad, with: immediate text support, information and videos on common mental health issues, mental wellness programs you can do on your own and with coaching, monitored communities of support and individual phone, video, and text counselling. Learn more: 1-866-585-0445
WHO IT IS FOR: All Canadians
2. Together All
Together All is a free, safe, online peer-to-peer mental health community that is accessible 24/7 to help those experiencing anxiety, depression and other common mental health issues. Commissioned by over 250 organizations globally, Together All is an online service that provides access to millions with anxiety, depression and other common mental health issues through online peer-to-peer support.
WHO IT IS FOR: All Ontarians aged 16+
3. BounceBack Ontario
BounceBack Ontario is a free skill-building program managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario. It is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness.
WHO IT IS FOR: All Ontarians aged 15+
4. Crisis Services Canada
Crisis Services Canada is a 24/7 national network of distress, crisis and suicide prevention line services. This service is available across Canada via toll-free phone, or text in English. Our toll-free phone service is also available in French. This means anyone in Canada that is thinking about, is or has been affected by suicide, can reach out across a variety of media, and feel supported 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1.833.456.4566 Text 45645
WHO IT IS FOR: All Canadians
5. LGBT Youthline Ontario
LGBT Youthline Ontario is an Ontario-wide peer-support for lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, queer and questioning young people through text and live chat with peer support volunteers. Their services are available from Sunday to Friday from 4:00 PM - 9:30 PM. Text 647-694-4275 Live Chat www.youthline.ca/
WHO IT IS FOR: LGBTTQQ2SI individuals across Ontario
6. Distress Centres of Greater Toronto
Distress Centres of Greater Toronto offer free, 24/7 support to individuals in crisis and/or experiencing emotional distress. Services are available via hotline, online chat and text. They are Canada’s oldest volunteer delivered crisis, emotional support and suicide prevention + intervention + postvention service agency.
Call 416-408-4357 (24/7 support)
Text 45645 (texting available from 4pm – 12am ET)
WHO IT IS FOR: Individuals living in the GTA
AbilitiCBT is an internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) program that you can access from any device, any time. It is free to anyone in Ontario or Manitoba. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective forms of therapy. It works by helping you understand and change the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are causing you problems. AbilitiCBT works the same way, but virtually. AbilitiCBT’s user-friendly platform makes it convenient to get help when you need it, where you need it.
WHO IT IS FOR: All Canadians
8. Good2Talk Helpline
Good2Talk provides confidential support services for post-secondary students in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Students can receive information and referrals about services and supports for mental health, addictions and well-being on and off campus and speak anonymously with a professional counsellor.
Text GOOD2TALKON to 686868
WHO IT IS FOR: Post-secondary students in Ontario/Nova Scotia
9. Ontario Caregiver Helpline
The Ontario Caregiver Organization (OCO) exists to support Ontario’s 3.3 million caregivers; ordinary people who provide physical and emotional support to a family member, partner, friend or neighbour. We support caregivers by being their one point of access to information, so they have what they need to be successful in their role.
Live chat www.ontariocaregiver.ca
WHO IT IS FOR: Caregivers in Ontario
10. Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is a free, national, 24/7 e-mental health service providing counselling, information and referrals text and phone-based support. Kids Help Phone also provides information on how to access community support services for youth.
Questions & inquiries www.kidshelpphone.ca/get-involved/contact-us/
WHO IT IS FOR: All kids, teens and young adults across Canada
NEED ADDITIONAL HELP NAVIGATING SERVICES?
There are multiple services and organizations that specialize in helping Canadian's navigate the mental health service. A short list of them can be found below. It is important to note that depending on the severity of your symptoms, your family doctor can refer/connect you to other mental health services. If you are in crisis, please call 911. Mental health is health, it is important to seek help if you need it (the world is a brighter place with you in it).
Family Navigation Project is a free program that provides help to youth, 13 to 26 years old experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues, and their families navigate the system more easily, to find and gain access to resources, such as service providers and treatment centres.
Connex Ontario provides free and confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental illness or gambling. They are funded by the Government of Ontario. Their system navigation and information services are live-answer 24/7, confidential, and free.
Ontario 211 connects people to the right information and services. Dial 211 to find out about or get connected to community, health, and social services across Canada.