Cariboo-Prince George Conservative MP Todd Doherty has shared his personal story about the abuse he and his brothers experienced growing up in the Williams Lake area.
The recently appointed shadow minister of mental health and suicide prevention was speaking during a mental health debate in the House of Commons on Thursday, Oct. 20.
He recalled the smell of burning flesh and the sight of his brother’s skin hanging off his hand after his mom placed his hand on the stove burner.
The Doherty boys were all lined up to watch, not knowing if it was going to be one of their turns next.
“The burner had been turned on for some time and it was so hot it wasn’t even red anymore it was purple. It was a bad day. Why? I don’t know. Was it canned food stacked properly, were the dishes done, was the garbage out? It didn’t matter. Whatever played in her head we were going to have to pay for it. We’d been here before,” he recalled.
Two weeks before his mom had thrown a can at him, resulting in a gash beside his eye that required stitches.
“Each and every day I believe if we as leaders share our stories we can show Canadians that it is OK to come forward and get rid of the stigma.”
Doherty told the Tribune that last Thursday’s discussion was the first time there has been a mental health debate since he became a member of parliament seven years ago, other than when he brought forth pieces of legislation on suicide prevention, 9-8-8 or C-211.
There was the emergency debate in 2016 over the Attawapiskat First Nation suicide crisis, but no other debate or discussions, he added.
Doherty said the country needs to find solutions for Canadians and their families who are struggling with mental health and addictions.
Every dollar spent in mental health, four to 10 dollars is returned to the economy, he said.
“Improving access to treatments for depression could boost our economy by $32 billion a year. This is why New Zealand tabled their well-being budget in 2019 that provided $455 million for front of line mental health services.”
Looking to the camera, Doherty said to anyone who was watching and who struggles, “I see you, I am listening, and I am fighting for you.”