Signal for Help

As a health-care practitioner, your impact on the public goes beyond the patient visit.

Chiropractors should be aware of the “Signal for Help” and it is strongly recommended that you share this information in your circle of influence both professionally and personally. The effort to learn and share this signal means you will be better equipped to help someone in need.

The social isolation measures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic are making it more difficult for those who are at risk of abuse or violence to safely reach out for help. “Signal for Help” is a simple one-handed sign someone can use on a video call. It can help a person silently show they need help and want someone to check in with them in a safe way.

If you see the signal

If you see someone use the Signal for Help, check in with the person safely to find out what they need and want you to do.

Here are ways that you can check in safely with someone:

  1. Call them and ask questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no”. This may reduce risk if someone is listening. For example:
    • “Would you like me to call 911?”
    • “Would you like me to call a shelter on your behalf?” (Find a shelter in your community by visiting ShelterSafe.)
    “Should I look for some services that might help you and call you back?” (Find some support services you can reach out to.)

  2. Use another form of communication such as text, social media, WhatsApp, or email and ask general questions. This may reduce risk if someone is watching the person’s device or accounts. For example, you can ask:
    “How are you doing?”
    “How can I help you out?”
    “Get in touch with me when you can.”

  3. Other questions you can ask:
    “Do you want me to reach out to you regularly?”
    “How else can I support you?”


Getting help

  1. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency services (police, fire, ambulance). 
  2. These websites list services, programs, and organizations all over Canada. You can also look for other places to get help in your community using Google search. Try search terms like “crisis line”, “domestic violence”, “women’s shelter near me”:
  3. Resources for elder abuse:
  4. Resources for child abuse: or
  5. American resources: