Williams Lake city council is adding its support to MP Todd Doherty’s plea for a 9-8-8 national suicide prevention hotline in Canada.
Doherty is asking all municipalities across the country to pass a motion similar to the one he introduced on Dec. 11, 2020 in the parliament.
“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,” is the wording of the motion.
Rates of suicide continue to rise and the last year has been devastating in terms of impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through isolation and the mental health of Canadians, Doherty noted in a letter city council received at its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 23.
“As elected officials and as leaders, and especially during this period of difficulty as a nation, Canadians are counting on all of us to make a difference,” he said.
Doherty is calling on all elected officials to put pressure on government and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
The pandemic has increased the demand for suicide prevention services by 200 per cent, Doherty added.
Council voted in favour of endorsing the 988 crisis line initiative and that staff be directed to write a letter indicating support to Doherty, MLA Lorne Doerkson, the federal minister of health, the CRTC and local area municipalities to indicate the support.