Suicide takes the lives of far too many Canadians each year, but it is preventable. On average, ten Canadians die from suicide every single day. It’s the second leading cause of death for those aged 20-29.
The Canadian Mental Health Association has verified that the pandemic has caused intense stress and disruption for all people in Canada, and is causing pronounced mental health concerns, including suicidal thoughts and feelings. Increased rates of substance abuse have also added to the suicide problem.
Too often those who need help cannot find it in a timely fashion. My colleague, Conservative MP Todd Doherty, has proposed Canada adopt the 9-8-8 phone number as a quick, easy-to-remember number for mental health services. This service will be available in the United States starting in 2022.
This is real, concrete action that will save Canadian lives. Help should only be three-digits away.
Currently those looking for help can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 toll free 1-833 456-4566 or text 45645 (from 2pm to 10pm). Youth can call Kids Helpline 24/7 toll free 1-800-668-6868, text 686868 or by using Facebook Messenger and searching for Kids Help Phone. Help is available!
As I said in the House of Commons, “I am sure we all know of someone who committed suicide. Many just do not talk about it. We all know someone who tried to commit suicide. We just do not talk about it. We all know that more needs to be done to prevent and treat suicide. We just do not talk about it. This has to change, and that is why I am very happy that we are discussing this here today. I want those who need help to reach out for it, to demand it.”
I am confident easy access to help through a 9-8-8 service would save many lives.