Help Should Only Be Three-Digits Away: Doherty Paves Way for 9-8-8 National Suicide Hotline in Canada
OTTAWA, ON – Todd Doherty, MP (Cariboo-Prince George) and Special Advisor to the Leader of the Opposition on Mental Health & Wellness released the following statement following the passage of his Opposition Day Motion:
“Today, I’m proud to announce that my motion which calls on the Government to take immediate action and establish a national suicide prevention hotline that consolidates all suicide crisis numbers into one easy to remember three-digit number (9-8-8) received the unanimous support of Parliament.
“Now, more than ever, the mental health of Canadians is being tested. Increased isolation and heightened anxiety have led to higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse. Reports domestic violence have gone up and we are seeing elevated levels of suicidal ideation and crises. First Nations communities across Canada continue to battle a growing suicide crisis.
“While the passage of this motion is not a panacea, it is a positive first step in the right direction. National mental health advocacy groups and Canadians of all backgrounds support this initiative.
“Currently, Canada’s national suicide hotline is a ten-digit number and an unnecessary barrier for Canadians in crisis. When minutes count, a simple and easy to remember number could make the difference between a life saved and a life lost.
“Despite an increasingly partisan political arena, mental health and suicide are not partisan issues. As leaders, it is incumbent on us to do better and be better by leaving a legacy of action. With the Christmas season upon us, I am so pleased that parliamentarians of all political stripe could come together and support this motion that will save Canadian lives.
“I look forward to working with the Minister of Health in the weeks ahead to ensure a timely implementation of the 9-8-8 National Suicide Hotline initiative.”