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Montreal Man Calls The City's Suicide Hotline And Made To Wait 30 Minutes

Photo cred - Antonio E. Da Silva Campos

Suicide is a serious issue in Quebec, as the province has the highest suicide rate in all of Canada. In order to offer citizens professional help in their time of need, Montreal has the Suicide Action Montreal 24-hour hotline. Unfortunately, the city's suicide hotline lacks the resources to efficiently respond to calls at all hours of the day, as one Montrealer had found out for himself.

Speaking to CBC Daybreak, John, whose name has not been disclosed by CBC, called the Suicide Action Montreal hotline during a moment of duress at 4:46am. Instead of hearing a person's voice on the other line, John got an answering machine. A prerecorded message saying "call back later" is definitely not what a person contemplating suicide needs to hear.

John kept calling, and calling, and not until 5:10am, after nearly half an hour of waiting, did someone pick up.

John, who has a supportive wife and family, made it through this experience. Others, he fears, won't be so lucky.

Suicide Action Montreal trainer Sharon Casey spoke to CBC and apologized for the incident, citing a lack of resources and funding as the issue. Between the hours of 4am to 8am, only one person is answering calls at Suicide Action Montreal, meaning what John went through could easily have happened to other Montrealers in need of help.

According to Casey, the frequency of calls to the 24 hour hotline has gone up by around 30% in the past three years, yet Suicide Action Montreal has not received any more funding to meet the demand. It would seem that the hotline isn't truly to blame for John's experience, but rather a lack of funding from the city to a service that helps save lives.

Listen to the whole story through the CBC soundcloud file below.

For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte 


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