Canadian Mental Health Association staff and volunteers experienced increased Crisis Line calls with COVID-related concerns. (CMHA photo)

Canadian Mental Health Association staff and volunteers experienced increased Crisis Line calls with COVID-related concerns. (CMHA photo)

North Okanagan MP pushes for national suicide hotline

Mel Arnold seeks support from North Okanagan-Shuswap municipalities for 988 hotline

The North Okanagan-Shuswap Member of Parliament is asking local municipalities to back a motion to establish a national suicide prevention hotline.

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty brought forward a motion to the House of Commons on Dec. 11, 2020, to amalgamate all suicide crisis numbers into one “easy to remember three-digit (988) hotline that is accessible to all Canadians.”

There was no opposition.

“The past year has been a challenging year. Lives and livelihoods have been lost. We have begun to see the devastating impacts that COVID has had, through isolation, on the mental health of Canadians,” Mel Arnold wrote to councils in the North Okanagan.

“The rates of suicide continue to rise. 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.”

Arnold says one way constituents can show their support is by signing the electronic petition online, which has already garnered more than 1,200 signatures.

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

Doherty, who is the Conservative Party’s Special Advisor to the Leader on Mental Health and Wellness, first raised the issue of a universal 988 hotline during the House of Commons Question Period Oct. 22 in Ottawa.

In bringing 988 forward, Doherty noted the United States has passed legislation so that starting in 2022, Americans will have access to an easy-to-remember three-digit national suicide prevention hotline, 988, and he felt there was no reason why Canada could not do the same.

“Currently, the national suicide prevention hotline in Canada is a standard 10-digit number that, I would argue, is an unnecessary barrier,” Doherty wrote in a recent letter to Black Press.

“When someone is in crisis and at the point where they want to ask for help, a simple three-digit and easy-to-remember number could make the difference between a life saved and a life lost.”

– With Black Press files

READ MORE: Suspicious fire closes Lake Country bank

READ MORE: Vernon man dies in Corkscrew Road crash


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Interior Health hospitals not strained by rising COVID case counts

While provincial hospitalizations rise, health care systems in the B.C. Interior remain robust, say officials

BC CDC data showing the geographic distribution of COVID cases in the province. (BC CDC photo)
One new case of COVID-19 in Golden

Cases continue to surge in surrounding areas

The Golden Golf Club will open for a new season on the links beginning April 24. (Claire Palmer photo)
Golden Golf club eyes April 24 start

The golf course is supporting local businesses with the driving range and mini-golf

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A in Princeton

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a truck fire on Dallas Road in Vernon April 15, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
WATCH: Vernon firefighters quick to douse fully involved truck fire

The fire was near multiple structures and spreading along the ground upon crews’ arrival

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Fire crews tend to a collision that is causing severe traffic delays on the William R. Bennett bridge headed east into Kelowna. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
7 vehicle collision on WR Bennett Bridge under investigation

The collision backed up traffic on the William R. Bennett bridge for much of the morning

Kelowna company celebrates milestone of producing 46 million masks in under a year.
46 million masks and counting: Kelowna company reaches 1 year milstone

In under a year, Breathe Manufacturing Ltd. in Kelowna has hit production of 46 million masks for front-line workers

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
Kelowna RCMP investigating hit and run involving 11-year-old

Police said the boy suffered minor injuries

Most Read