Bell rang in Let’s Talk Day on Jan. 25, a now-annual commemoration of mental health issues, to spotlight these concerns.
Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty has made mental health a personal cause in the Canada’s House of Commons. He received the Champions of Mental Health Award from the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, he passed his easy-to-remember three-digit (988) suicide prevention hotline motion in Parliament that takes effect this coming November, and his first Private Member’s legislation was Bill C-211, an act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which passed in 2018.
He was recently appointed the Official Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.
On Bell’s special day of mental health attention (which includes a $10-million company donation to mental health causes), Doherty issued a statement of support, as well as a challenge.
“Canadians are facing a mental health crisis,” Doherty said. “The statistics are alarming. Nearly 200 people attempt suicide daily and 12 will die. One in four Canadians are experiencing anxiety and 56 per cent of the people who are struggling are not receiving the care they need and deserve.
“Despite the significant progress we have made in starting conversations about mental health in recent years, there is still so much work to be done. On Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s begin to have a conversation about mental health.
“Reach out to your neighbours. Talk to your friends. Speak with your colleagues and ensure everyone is ok. Too often people struggling with mental illness struggle with it alone. That phone call or check in conversation can mean so much.
“By beginning to have difficult conversations about mental health, we can save lives. Together, we can break the stigma and continue to prioritize our mental health all year long.”