The Longer the Pandemic Goes on, the Worse it Will GetMay 4, 2021
May 3-9 is mental health week. It goes without saying that pandemic measures, financial struggles, and social isolation have all contributed to an alarming increase in mental health issues in Canada. Anxiety, depression, and addictions are on the rise in our nation. The longer we are dealing with COVID-19, the worse this crisis will get.
Canada’s Conservatives know that a key part of our recovery from the pandemic is ensuring that the federal government supports Canadians dealing with mental health challenges.
That is why one of the five main points in our plan to secure the future is making sure mental health is prioritized in our recovery.
Our plan commits to increasing mental health research and resources. We will make sure that decisions for Albertan’s mental health are made locally and in our communities, rather than “Ottawa-knows-best” decisions made by Liberal elites in their ivory towers.
On top of that, we will provide incentives to employers to provide mental health coverage to employees. The fallout from the pandemic cannot be ignored, and our plan makes sure employers and employees have the support they need.
Our third proposal would bring immediate support to those who are suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts. We are advocating for bringing together existing suicide prevention services under one national, three-digit phone number: 9-8-8.
In the case of an emergency, you dial 9-1-1. People contemplating suicide are facing an internal emergency and should also have easy access to support resources. A simple, easy to remember, three-digit number could make the difference between a life saved and a life lost.
Canada’s Suicide Prevention Hotline has experienced a call increase of 200% during the pandemic. In Alberta, local mental health services have been overwhelmed, leading to increased wait times. Imagine calling 9-1-1 during an emergency and being asked to hold the line, or worse, getting an automated message.
The current 10-digit national hotline is an unnecessary barrier for those seeking help. Instead of complacency, all sides of government must work together to make sure we are continually improving access to emergency resources.
The United States recently came to a bi-partisan agreement to make 9-8-8 their national suicide hotline. There is no reason why Canada cannot follow this lead.
Our plan to secure mental health is a vital aspect of making sure Canada thrives after this pandemic. You can see our full plan here.
Add your name here if you agree that government must prioritize mental health as we emerge from the pandemic: http://www.blakerichards.ca/mental-health