Despite having many resources such as peer support groups and counselors in the community, I have often found myself unable to access mental health support when I needed it most. That is because many of the incidents of panic attacks, severe anxiety, or low points in depression would present with an episode at odd hours of the night or I would experience their effects the most while being up awake and alone.
The sense of urgency and the need to reach out of help, at least for me, has often been the most pronounced when there was no one around to speak to. That is when I felt the need to know how I can find help when dealing with a crisis, or just to reach out for help and make a plan to improve my mental health condition when I am eager and able to do so.
After going through many of these more difficult and lonely nights myself, I realized that I might not be alone. There must be others who, like me, want to find help but in their moments of extreme low or crisis, when help is not readily available at the walk-in clinics and support group networks. Hence, it was time to dig deep and create a list of resources for those seeking help outside of typical business hours. Here is a list I was able to compile for anyone living within Ontario, Canada:
- CONNEXONTARIO: https://www.connexontario.ca/en-ca/
This free platform from the province is one where you can call in, chat or text with for a variety of mental health support needs. Primarily, they can provide education on some of the more common conditions, listen to you, and provide support in helping you make a plan to use the most appropriate resources. They can hear out your situation and needs and recommend some places to call during the next day, where you can get the personalized, professional help that you need for your particular kind of mental health condition. Available 24hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Crisis Services Canada https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/
For those who might be having active thoughts of suicide, the national suicide prevention hotline is available Available 24hours a day, 7 days a week. With options to call in or text, this resources is not restricted to anyone with an appointment, so feel free to reach out should you have such needs.
- Distress and Crisis Ontario: https://www.dcontario.org/services/
The ONTX service from Distress and Crisis Ontario is a free, virtual texting and/or chatting platform for anyone who might be experiencing emotional distress or going through a crisis. While it is not available 24 hours a day, it is available till quite late at night (2PM in the evening to 2AM at night), and might be good for those of us who prefer to speak via texting instead of calling in.
- Kids Help Phone: https://kidshelpphone.ca/
This platform specially customized for the mental health support needs of young individuals offers e-mental health services via texting and facebook messenger. Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this could be a great resource for youth who need crisis support more urgently, although they do also offer long-term support through their counseling programs.
- Good2Talk: https://good2talk.ca/
For post-secondary students on Ontario, this unique platform called Good2Talk is a call-in or text-in option to find help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can receive professional counseling as well as referrals to other more appropriate resources for your mental health needs when you call in by phone. The text-in service is supported by Kids Help Phone is another similar service from them which can connect you to a trained, volunteer, crisis responder who can support you by listening to what you have to say, you can share your experience, and ask for support with crisis situations you are going through and this is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Crisis Text Line: https://www.crisistextline.ca/
This service, also powered by Kids Help Phone, is available to anyone in Canada at any time (24/7), and is free to use. All you have to do is reach for your phone and text in. The first two messages are automated, but don’t be demotivated, because you WILL be connected to a trained professional who can help you in your moment of crisis. According to their website, it usually takes around 5 minutes to be connected to the crisis responder although it could be a bit longer during high traffic times.
- mhapy: https://www.mhapy.com/
This upcoming mobile application based service, while not meant to manage mental health crisis, is a great resource to use so you can track your episodes of anxiety, depression, sleep and overall mental health markers. It can connect you with your peers who may be going through similar challenges regarding their mental health. Through establishing these connections, you can find an accountability partner to help you make a plan and adhere to it in the longer run.
If you don’t feel like talking to someone you know or share your mental health challenges, you can also make use of the artificial intelligence driven chatbot name Ruby that is housed on the app. The best part is that the app, once launched, will be completely free for individuals users to download and utilize at any time of the day or night.
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