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What Is 211 & What Does It Help With?

What Is 211 & What Does It Help With?

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Life’s challenges can feel overwhelming at times, especially when you don’t know where to turn for help. If you’re facing issues like mental health struggles, questions about government services, food insecurity, or being unhoused, it can be hard to know what resources exist or how to access support. That’s where 211 Alberta comes in. 

For over 15 years, 211 has been connecting Albertans from all walks of life with the community and social services. With a simple phone call, text, chat message, or search online, 211 can connect you with resources to help with basic needs, healthcare, disability services, support groups, counselling and more. Whether you’re going through a difficult time or simply want to learn more about what’s available in your community, services like 211 and Distress Centre can help.

The Purpose of 211

211 Alberta’s vision is to have a comprehensive Information and Referral system that’s accessible to all Albertans. By dialling 211, you can access information on a wide range of resources, including food assistance, housing support, mental health services, and local programs.

In Calgary and Southern Alberta, 211 is operated by Distress Centre Calgary. Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton operates 211 in Edmonton and Northern Alberta. 

What Can You Call 211 For?

  • Food, shelter, and/or transportation
  • Financial support to help pay a bill, rent, and/or damage deposit
  • Mental health support
  • Information on government programs and phone numbers
  • Getting access to information about legal support
  • Concerns about a friend or family member

211 can also be used to help connect you with opportunities to help. You can call 211 to find information about: 

How Can I Access 211?

211 services are available across Alberta and can help in over 170 languages over the phone. You can reach out to 211 by: 

Does 211 Cost Anything?

211 is a completely free service. Whether you connect by phone, text, or chat, there is no charge for accessing 211. 

Who Is 211 For? 

211 is a service for anyone and everyone. People of all ages and backgrounds can use 211 for support, from 2SLGBTQIA+ and Indigenous-specific services to resources for newcomers to Canada. 

Children & Youth

211 can help children and youth access supports like mental health resources, youth-focused addictions services, housing and shelter resources, and even leadership and personal growth programs. Whether it’s guidance during difficult times or opportunities for growth and improvement, 211 is dedicated to being a reliable source of assistance for children and youth in the community.


211 can help families access essential items for babies such as diapers, formula, and other crucial supplies, and facilitate access to childcare options. This service can also help families find resources for children’s developmental assessments and gain valuable insights into their child’s growth and well-being. 

Adults & Seniors

Adults and seniors can use 211 to access food and basic needs, employment programs, financial support, addictions and mental health support, assisted living communities, transportation, and even find resources to help navigate natural disasters, and legal, and government concerns. 

Who Does 211 Connect Me With?

When you reach out to 211, you’ll be connected to a trained responder. This service strives to ensure that every call is completely confidential. The person you speak with can refer you to and help connect you with other appropriate agencies and community organizations.

A woman calling 211 alberta to be connected with the right resources.

Is 211 a Crisis Line?

211 can provide resources for those in crisis. If you find yourself in a crisis, whether it’s related to mental health, emotional distress, or any other challenging situation, 211 can provide resources and connect you with the support you need. This includes access to services such as suicide prevention education, crisis teams, and the Distress Centre crisis line.

At Distress Centre, we are here for you 24/7. Whether you prefer to talk by phone, text, or chat, our team of highly trained responders is ready to provide the support and compassion you need during difficult times. We provide a safe and non-judgmental space where you can feel heard and understood, and all conversations are kept strictly confidential.

You can reach our support line at 403-266-4357. Additionally, we offer crisis support online through our chat portal, providing another avenue for seeking help. For youth, our ConnecTeen program is also available 24/7 via online chat, texting at 587-333-2724, or by phone at 403-264-8336.

If you are dealing with an emergency situation that requires immediate intervention, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room.

Find the Resources You Need

Whether you’re a parent seeking support for your family, an adult or senior in need of various resources, or someone facing a crisis, 211 is there to offer a helping hand. From connecting you with essential items to providing mental health support and crisis intervention, 211 provides the power of community and compassion. 

If you’re dealing with mental health concerns, know Distress Centre is also here for you through crisis support, crisis counselling, and Coordinated Entry through SORCe. Learn more about our resources and our “why” today.

Posted in 211

In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, Distress Centre Calgary would like to honour and acknowledge Moh’kinsstis, and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, as well as the Îyâxe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. Finally, we acknowledge all Nations – Indigenous and non – who live, work and play on this land, and who honour and celebrate this territory.