Project Spotlight: Canadian Red Cross

Expanding the Friendly Calls Program

Creating and fostering stronger, more connected communities


Primary audience:
Older adults, Indigenous peoples, frontline workers, parents, and caregivers

Secondary audience:
Anyone over the age of 18 who could benefit from greater connection or who may have limited social and family links.



  • Expand the Friendly Calls Program to reach priority populations across the country.
  • Reduce anxiety and depression, as well as feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Enhance social connectedness, well-being, and connection to community.
  • Fill gaps in access to basic psychosocial support.


  • Match people over the age of 18 with trained Red Cross personnel who connect with them regularly to check-in, provide emotional support, encourage healthy coping strategies, and suggest well-being resources and community connections to other existing services.
  • Work collaboratively with key partners including the Canadian Institute for Social Prescribing, a pan-Canadian network focused on equity, intersectoral collaboration and community leadership in the scaling and spreading of social prescribing across the country.
  • Ensure that the Friendly Calls program is safe, free, and accessible across geographies, demographics, and abilities.



  • Telecommunication

Implementation sites

  • National


  • COVID-19 disconnected many people from their social networks and exacerbated the mental health challenges of many communities across the country.
  • The pandemic highlighted significant challenges, including social isolation, loneliness, fear, and uncertainty.
  • The Friendly Calls Program is designed to help people feel heard and connected to their community.


In the words of the project team members

“There’s that inherent magic…that protective quality, where we actually feel heard. We feel that someone’s listening to us. Where we matter. And that can ripple out in preventative and protective qualities in many aspects of our life.”

Key protective factors

  • Supportive relationships in the community
  • Social Networks
  • Coping
  • Access to health and support services

Key approaches

  • Strengths-based
  • Social-Prescribing


Anyone can sign up or learn more by calling 1-833-979-9779 toll-free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time on weekdays