TORONTO -- A motion to establish a National Suicide Prevention 9-8-8 helpline was unanimously passed by the House of Commons on Friday.

The motion, put forward by Conservative MP Todd Doherty, called on the government to “take immediate action in collaboration with our provinces to establish a National Suicide Prevention hotline that consolidates all suicide crisis numbers into one easy-to-remember three digit 9-8-8 hotline that is accessible to all Canadians.”

Currently, Canada’s Suicide Prevention Service operates a hard-to-remember 10-digit national number -- 833-456-4566 -- as do various local distress centres across the country.

Madi Muggridge was 13 years old when she first sought online support for her suicidal thoughts, but gave up after waiting fruitlessly for hours, feeling disappointed and alone. Now 19, Muggridge was inspired by the establishment of a 9-8-8 mental health emergency number in the United States and created a petition calling on Canadian politicians to do the same.

2020 has been a particularly difficult year for many Canadians due to the devastating losses and mental toll of isolation from the pandemic. Alcohol and substance abuse, and domestic violence have all reportedly increased alongside higher rates of suicide. The partisan divisions over Black Lives Matter and the U.S. elections have compounded the stress many have felt this year.

“The rates of suicide are growing at alarming rates. As elected officials and as leaders, and especially during this period of difficulty as a nation, Canadians are counting on us,” Doherty said ahead of his motion.

“The stories are heartbreaking, but colleagues, we must do better than just give them hope. We can leave a legacy of action by breaking the stigma associated with mental illness and mental injury, and eliminating unnecessary barriers for Canadians who choose to seek help.”

Unanimous consent is a victory for Doherty, who has been pushing for this for some time, but it remains to be seen how and when the government will respond.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that are available.

Canada Suicide Prevention Helpline (1-833-456-4566)

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (1 800 463-2338)

Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645)

Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)

If you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.