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Cariboo-Prince George MP calling for 1-year deadline to establish 3-digit suicide hotline

Todd Doherty’s motion calling for 9-8-8 as a national hotline passed unanimously in December
Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty advises Conservative leader Erin O’Toole on mental health and wellness. (House of Commons Photography)

Cariboo-Prince George Member of Parliament Todd Doherty doesn’t want suicide prevention to “slip through the cracks.”

He introduced a bill in the House of Commons giving the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) one year to establish a 9-8-8 national suicide hotline.

Doherty’s motion to establish the hotline was unanimously approved by the House of Commons in December of 2020.

READ MORE: Cariboo-Prince George MP’s suicide prevention hotline motion passes unanimously

“It’s been 147 days since we passed my 9-8-8 motion in the House,” Doherty said in a news release. “Since then, we’ve lost an estimated 1,600 people to suicide. Another 40,425 have attempted suicide.”

Doherty acts as a special advisor on mental health and wellness for Conservative leader Erin O’Toole.

“I’ve seen far too many friends and family members slip through the cracks,” he said in an October 2020 interview. “I’ve attended far too many funerals for teenagers, veterans or first responders that lost the fight with mental illness. I’ve sat with far too many families left behind to pick up the pieces.”

READ MORE: Mental Illness awareness important to Cariboo-Prince George MP

Doherty’s release said nearly 300 Canadians attempt to end their own lives every day. Doherty’s bill would establish a national hotline, reachable by simply dialing 9-8-8 anywhere in Canada.

“Assistance should only be three digits away,” Doherty said. “This bill will save lives, it’s as simple as that.”

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