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Local MP wins award for mental health contributions

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty presented 2021 Champion of Mental Health Awareness Award
Todd Doherty at work
Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty is seen in the House of Commons in an undated handout photo.

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty was honoured on Wednesday by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health for his work to promote the creation of a three-digit suicide prevention hotline.

The group presented Doherty the 2021 Champion of Mental Health Awareness Award in the Parliamentarian category. In December, Doherty introduced a private member’s bill calling on the federal government to consolidate existing suicide prevention hotlines into a single, three-digit number accessible to all Canadians.

The bill received the unanimous support of the House of Commons. Once enacted, Canadians needing to reach out for help regarding suicidal thoughts will be able to reach the hotline by dialing 988.

“This three-digit hotline is desperately needed; will save lives and I am committed to bringing this initiative to Canada” Doherty said in a press release. “I am both humbled and honoured. Over the last several months, the mental health of Canadians has been put to the test. Anxiety and depression have increased, and more Canadians have experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings.”

Doherty has been receiving support from municipalities across the country for a 988 service and is currently working with the CRTC on the logistics of bringing the service to all regions of Canada, a statement issued by the CIMIMH said.

In addition to his work on the creation of a 988 hotline, he championed Bill C-211, calling for the creation of federal framework to diagnose and treat post-traumatic stress disorder among military personnel and first responders.