South Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay (inset) is calling on the federal government to speed up the process of creating a three-digit suicide-prevention hotline. (File photos)

South Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay (inset) is calling on the federal government to speed up the process of creating a three-digit suicide-prevention hotline. (File photos)

South Surrey-White Rock MP calls on feds to hasten suicide-prevention hotline

We have an increased number of people who are struggling, says Kerry-Lynne Findlay

South Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay has called on the federal government to accelerate a national three-digit suicide prevention hotline, a motion for which passed unanimously in the House of Commons in December.

“More than five months have gone by since the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion for the Liberal government to take ‘immediate action’ to establish a national three-digit suicide prevention hotline. In that time, the government has failed to act,” Findlay said in a news release issued last week.

“The pandemic has forced us to isolate from family, friends, and support systems. We have always needed this 9-8-8 hotline, but never more so than right now. The mental health and wellness of Canadians is on the line. Canadians from coast-to-coast, including many here in South Surrey-White Rock, simply can’t afford to wait any longer.”

On Dec. 11, Todd Doherty, MP for Caribou-Prince George, introduced the motion for the bill on Dec. 11, 2020 and it received unanimous consent. On May 7, Mark Strahl, MP for Chilliwack-Hope, seconded the private members Bill C-294, to set up 988, a national suicide prevention hotline.

Shortly after releasing her written statement, Findlay told Peace Arch News that mental-health issues have become exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic – including on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

“We have an increased number of people who are struggling, isolated, depressed because of the pandemic; we receive quite a few calls from seniors, who call just to have someone to talk to,” she said.

“They’re feeling particularly lonely. Many of them live alone, and we’ve had a few who have become favourites – they call and just want to chat for awhile. It’s really concerning when people want to come (to the office) just to talk to a real-life human being. They don’t have (an issue to discuss), they’re just people who live alone, and they’re feeling lonely, and cut-off.”

It’s not only seniors who are feeling the mental strain of the last 14 months, Findlay said. Her office has also received calls from students, as well as parents who are worried not only about their own mental well-being, but also that of their young children.

Findlay also mentioned domestic violence – a problem that has also increased as a result of the pandemic – as another reason a suicide-prevention hotline, and increased mental-health support in general, is necessary.

“I’m on the justice committee in the House of Commons and we just finished a report… on COVID and domestic violence. And it’s not just the number of incidents (that has gone up), but the severity of the incidents – and the principal victims are women and children. It’s very concerning,” she said.

“If you really feel desperate and need to talk to someone, it would be good to have an exclusive line where you have trained people on the other end of the phone who can talk to people who are at a low point in their life. It would be easily accessible, and people would get to know it just like they know 911.”

Findlay isn’t the only local politician demanding increased mental-health support for those in need. Earlier this year, MLA Trevor Halford (Surrey-White Rock) was critical of a website created by the provincial government to help people deal with stress and mental-health issues during the pandemic.

“People need real support that provides relief, not an online hub that doesn’t provide much more than a telephone number on how they can maybe get help.

“People need to know that if they call, they will get actual help,” Halford, the BC Liberals’ mental health and addictions critic, said in news release issued in April.



editorial@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

federal governmentmental healthsuicide

Just Posted

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Pier has reportedly been unused for a long time

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Most Read