988 was one of the biggest advances in mental health crisis and suicide prevention in half a century. After four long years of unrelenting personal advocacy, it is now a reality. It all started here. This site provides a record of when and how the campaign to bring 988 to Canada began. It sets out the origin of 988 and provides important educational facts as well as media interviews and op-eds that were a big part of the campaign.  What it does not reveal is the difficulty trying to get 988 off the ground and penetrating the fog of indifference displayed by so many politicians and the mental health elite to the promise of this new idea. That we will leave to another day.

What Canadians, and the families of loved ones lost to suicide, are saying about 988.

This is the official site of the 988 Campaign for Canada. It’s an  innovation in combating suicide that CTV National News called “three numbers that could make all the difference.” Intended to replace the current nation-wide 11-digit suicide prevention hotline number, 988 will provider a faster and more direct way for those in crisis to reach out for the help they want, when seconds count in saving lives.


Every day, 12 Canadians die from suicide. Every year, 100,000 attempt to take their lives —  men, women and children. They come from every part of Canada and every socio-economic group. Some populations, such as indigenous and LGBTQ communities, are at especially high risk, as are victims of sexual trauma. When Canadians need to reach out for help with a mental health crisis, we deserve to get it as quickly as possible, just as we do when we call  911 for the help of police, fire or ambulance. That’s what 988 can do.

The easy-to-remember, faster-to-dial 988 hotline system is already in use in the U.S. It had the bipartisan support of the U.S. Congress, as well as the best clinical thinkers in mental health. We need it in Canada. The question is not, “Why do we need it in Canada?” but “What can we do to get it up and running as quickly as possible?” It’s time our politicians got on board and made it happen.

Kathleen Finlay interviewed by CTV National News on CRTC’s approval of 988 for Canada, beginning in November 2023.

Kathleen Finlay, founder of the 988 Campaign for Canada, interviewed on the CTV News Channel anchored by Angie Seth.


Kathleen Finlay talks about her campaign to bring 988 to Canada on CBC National News and the World at Six.

The Hill Times, March 18, 2020

Kathleen Finlay calls for the creation of a national suicide prevention roundtable.

The Ottawa Citizen, Print Edition, February 29, 2020

The Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, London Free Press, Kingston Whig-Standard,
February 28, 2020



See Kathleen Finlay’s Full Interview on CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme, and Print Edition Story.

Watch Kathleen Finlay’s interview on Wild/Outdoor TV.  


Read more about our 988 Campaign for Canada, and Kathleen’s efforts to raise awareness about the risks and causes of this epidemic of suicide, and innovations that can make a big difference in preventing it.