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Helping save more lives: The Canadian Mental Health Association & Centre for Suicide Prevention support the National Suicide Prevention Action Plan

May 31, 2024

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) National and Centre for Suicide Prevention welcome The National Suicide Prevention Action Plan: Working together on life promotion and suicide prevention. This is Canada’s first Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

“Canada is one of only two G7 countries without a national suicide prevention strategy, and this Action Plan is a step in the right direction,” said Mara Grunau, Executive Director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention. “We commend the federal government’s leadership in developing this Action Plan and for implementing the three-digit Suicide Crisis Helpline (9-8-8).”

The Canadian Mental Health Association and Centre for Suicide Prevention strongly support a collaborative approach to suicide prevention, as is emphasized in the Action Plan. Like many social issues, suicide is complex and requires a multi-pronged approach to prevention, one that involves all levels and departments of government, as well as the involvement of individuals, organizations, communities, and businesses.

The Pillars of Action identified in the Action Plan: data and monitoring; research and evaluation; supports and services; and governance align with several of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s foundations of suicide prevention. We welcome commitments in the Action Plan to:

“We would like to see the federal government take a strong leadership role in implementing the Action Plan, as well as set aside dedicated funding for suicide prevention specifically,” said Margaret Eaton, National CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association. “We continue to advocate for a funded national suicide prevention strategy, as recommended by WHO,” said Eaton.

As noted by WHO, limiting lethal means is the first key effective intervention for preventing suicide. The Canadian Mental Health Association and Centre for Suicide Prevention would like to see the federal government more clearly define and expand its role in restricting lethal means by, for example, implementation of blister packs by Health Canada for potentially lethal medications; installation of barriers on railways and bridges within Transportation Canada jurisdiction; ensuring ligature points are minimized in controlled environments by Corrections Canada; and regulation of pesticides by Health Canada.

To read more about the importance of national suicide prevention strategies and plans, read Does Canada need a national suicide prevention strategy? by CSP.  

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