Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to have a diagnosis to use the Mental Health Crisis Line?
  2. Which geographic areas can access the Mental Health Crisis Line?
  3. What can I expect when I call the Mental Health Crisis Line?
  4. What happens if the crisis cannot be alleviated or resolved over the phone?
  5. Who am I talking to when I call the Mental Health Crisis Line?
  6. Who should use the Mental Health Crisis Line?
  7. Will I have to wait long for my call to be answered?
  8. Can the Local Crisis Team help me with my medications?

 

Do I have to have a diagnosis to use the Mental Health Crisis Line?

Absolutely not.  You don't have to be diagnosed, currently in treatment or receiving services in any part of the system.  Family members of adults suffering in a mental health crisis can also use this Crisis Line.


 

Which geographic areas can access the Mental Health Crisis Line?

People residing in the City of Ottawa, the Renfrew County, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, and Akwesasne can access the Mental Health Crisis Line.  These areas are all located within Eastern Ontario.


 

What can I expect when I call the Mental Health Crisis Line?

A compassionate and caring voice of support will answer your call.  You will be asked for some basic information to assess safety and risk.  Then we will focus on your immediate crisis and assist in finding solutions that work for you.  We may be able to provide you with other relevant resources.


 

What happens if the crisis cannot be alleviated or resolved over the phone?

With your consent as well as your name and phone number, you will be connected by phone to the professional Local Crisis Team in your area.  


 

Who am I talking to when I call the Mental Health Crisis Line?

Volunteer Crisis Line Responders with the Ottawa Distress Centre staff the 24 hour Mental Health Crisis Line. Prospective volunteers are rigorously screened and participate in an intensive training program consistent with accreditation standards held by Distress and Crisis Ontario (DCO).

Training consists of 59 hours, which includes two full days of suicide intervention skills training (ASIST) and incorporates active listening, crisis intervention, mental health, bereavement, substance use and abuse, and other relevant concerns.  Two observation shifts are scheduled with an experienced volunteer, and ongoing professional development is encouraged and provided throughout the year.  Classes are small and interactive to prepare volunteers for their role on the Mental Health Crisis Line.

Volunteer Crisis Line Responders on the Mental Health Crisis Line provide 24/7 support to individuals in crisis, assessment, crisis diffusion, resources to local community organizations, and may transfer callers to the Local Crisis Team when required.


 

Who should use the Mental Health Crisis Line?

The Mental Health Crisis Line is designed to handle mental health crises, including those arising from an identifiable mental illness, either on the telephone or through a connection to the Local Crisis Team.  This service is for individuals 16 years of age or older.

If you, a family member or friend are experiencing a serious mental health problem, including situational crisis, psychosis, severe depression or anxiety, or suicidal thoughts (not needing immediate medical attention), the Mental Health Crisis Line provides the most immediate access to a range of crisis services.  These services are designed to support people in their own environment and minimize the need to be hospitalized.


 

Will I have to wait long for my call to be answered?

Typically, you will have a wait time of less than two minutes.  However, during periods where there is a very high volume of calls, you may experience a wait time of up to 10 minutes.  If you feel that you cannot wait for your call to be answered and that your situation is an emergency, you may want to seek help from police or ambulance by calling 911.


 

Can the Local Crisis Team help me with my medications?

The Local Crisis Team cannot prescribe medications or make medication adjustments for you.

However, the Local Crisis Team can help you problem-solve about medication issues you may be experiencing.