The past year has been challenging for all of us, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impact has been felt by countless Canadians, as lives and livelihoods have been lost. We’ve seen higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and domestic violence, as many Canadians struggle with increased isolation and heightened anxiety. Our mental health continues to be tested, which is why now, more than ever, help should only be three digits away (988).
My Conservative colleagues and I recognize the importance of taking immediate action to bring a national three-digit suicide prevention hotline to Canada. In the U.S., Americans will have a 988 service to receive help with a mental health crisis, as of 2022. My Conservative colleague, MP Todd Doherty (Cariboo-Prince George), introduced such a motion in the House of Commons, which was passed on December 11, 2020 to establish a hotline that would consolidate all suicide crisis numbers into one easy to remember three-digit number (9-8-8). The motion states:
That, given that the alarming rate of suicide in Canada constitutes a national health crisis, the House call on the government to take immediate action, in collaboration with our provinces, to establish a national suicide prevention hotline that consolidates all suicide crisis numbers into one easy to remember three-digit (988) hot‐ line that is accessible to all Canadians.
It was really encouraging to see all MPs from all political stripes coming together to support the motion to create the 988 national suicide prevention hotline; however, the work doesn’t end there. We must continue to place pressure on the government and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to make 988 a reality for Canadians. This is where you and your loved ones can assist my colleagues and I in making a difference. You can personally help support the cause by adding your name to our electronic petition at: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2772. It’s simple to do and only takes a few seconds of your time to ensure help is just three digits away for Canadians experiencing a mental health crisis. Seconds matter when help is desperately needed.
Let’s work together to make 988 a reality!