The federal government approved the creation of a national three-digit suicide hotline back in December, but some say increased urgency is needed to support people in mental health crisis. (metrocreative stock)

Campbell River city council backs national ‘988’ suicide hotline

'Clearly the existing system is not supporting men in crisis,' says Coun. Ron Kerr

Campbell River city council has announced its support for the implementaion of a national suicide hotline and enhancing supports for those struggling with their mental health.

Council received correspondence at its March 22 meeting from the township of Spalumcheen and Village of Belcarra, requesting support for a letter intended for federal Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, in regards to quickly establishing a three-digit suicide prevention hotline.

The federal government voted in favour of establishing such a resource in December of last year, but some feel it can’t come soon enough and the pace of work on the project needs to increase. The number would be 988 and would consolodate all of the nation’s suicide crisis numbers into one place.

Campbell River city council was quick to offer its support for the idea.

Coun. Ron Kerr, in discussion of the letter, brought forward some poignant and distubing statistics.

“Every day in Canada, an average of 11 Canadians die by suicide,” Kerr began. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults. One third of deaths by suicide are among people 45-59 years of age. Suicide rates are three times higher among men compared to women, meaning 75 per cent of all deaths by suicide are men and boys.”

Kerr went on to point out that 408 suicide deaths happened in B.C. last year.

“That’s down from 2019, but at the same time, for males, which make up 80 per cent of overdose deaths, 2020 saw almost a doubling of death from 746 in 2019 to 0ver 1,400 overdose deaths amongst males in 2020.

“Clearly the existing system is not supporting men in crisis and I think this suicide hotline would go a long way to to supporting men in crisis.”

The letter was endorsed unanimously.

The current national phoneline can be accessed by calling the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 (Phone) or by texting 45645 on your cell phone from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. PST.

RELATED: Eight per cent of school aged kids have considered or attempted suicide

RELATED: Experts warn Campbell River’s mental health crisis worsening among children & youth

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