The House of Commons voted in favour of a proposal to establish a nationwide suicide hotline today.
“I know [that], like me, many of our colleagues have experienced the pain, loss, guilt and anger of suicide,” he told MPs.
He said it’s especially important to offer hope to those in despair in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
“We can leave a legacy of action by breaking the stigma associated with mental illness and mental injury and eliminating unnecessary barriers for Canadians who chose to seek help,” he said.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu has said she wants to do more to support Canadians struggling with mental health issues. On Nov 30, in response to a question from Doherty, she explicitly said she likes the idea of a nationwide hotline and wants to work with him to make it happen more quickly.
The initiative also has support among mental health professionals, including those involved in the existing national suicide prevention number, the Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS).
“In a crisis, looking for a 10-digit number is a barrier — a barrier that doesn’t need to exist,” Dr. Alison Crawford told CBC News in November.
Dr. Crawford is both chief medical officer for the CSPS and a psychiatrist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. She said her service has seen a 200 per cent increase in demand since the pandemic hit.
Where to get help:
Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 (Phone) | 45645 (Text, 4 p.m. to midnight ET only) crisisservicescanada.ca
In Quebec (French): Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (Phone), Live Chat counselling at www.kidshelpphone.ca
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre