Suicide Prevention: Background Content

Suicide Prevention Initiatives

June 1, 2022

“Our Path of Resilience” Newfoundland and Labrador action plan to prevent suicide

Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: Our Path of Resilience, a five-year action plan that includes 12 targeted actions and a commitment to improved monitoring, surveillance and research aimed at reducing the incidents of suicide in Newfoundland and Labrador. The action items focus on community mental health literacy and capacity building, as well as prevention, intervention and follow-up services for people impacted by suicide.

Reducing the incidence of suicide in Newfoundland and Labrador requires a strategic and concerted effort by the health, education, justice and social systems. The Provincial Government allocated $2.5 million in Budget 2022 to implement the plan, with a commitment of approximately $4.5 million annually for the next four years.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the rate of suicide increased by 234 per cent between 1981 and 2017. The majority of these individuals were living with a mental health issue or substance use disorder.

Our Path of Resilience fulfills a commitment made in Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador to develop a Life Promotion Suicide Prevention Plan, with a focus on reducing stigma and empowering communities to build resilience and inclusiveness.

The plan recognizes social determinants of health and their impact on individuals, families and communities, including the impact of intergenerational trauma. It focuses on an equity-based approach by all systems to foster health and healing.

The Life Promotion Suicide Prevention Working Group – which includes representatives from multiple government departments, community organizations, Indigenous partners and people with lived and living experience of suicide loss – worked collaboratively to develop the action plan. Extensive consultation for this plan included 24 targeted sessions across all regions of the province, as well as consultation with the Indigenous Health Team, Recovery Council and Advisory Council.

Implementation of this plan will be overseen by a provincial steering committee, which will include multiple government departments, community organizations, Indigenous partners, as well as individuals with experience of suicide attempt or loss.

For full details on the 12 targeted actions and commitments click on the following link:

June 10, 2022


Alberta Government increasing access to suicide prevention supports

NationTalk: Alberta’s government is helping community organizations expand and develop new mental health and suicide prevention supports for youth.

The Youth Suicide Prevention Grant Program is providing $3 million over the next two years to 13 youth-focused community programs. These organizations will use the grants to provide mental health support and services to priority youth populations at a higher risk for youth suicide.

“As part of our youth suicide prevention strategy, these grants will support youth-serving organizations across the province to continue and improve the amazing work they are already doing for kids in their communities.”

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services

“Improving youth mental health is a top priority for our government. By partnering with community organizations, we are ensuring that youth suicide prevention supports are in place across Alberta. This is essential to help children and youth improve their mental health and prevent suicide.”

Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“We are pleased to have received funding for the Skills for Safer Living program. This program is an effective intervention support and service, serving youth and their families or caregivers. It empowers youth with practical skills to promote their recovery and help them live meaningful lives while equipping caregivers with the knowledge and skills they need to support and enhance the process.”

Mara Grunau, executive director, Centre for Suicide Prevention

“The First Nations Health Consortium is honoured to be a grant recipient. We are eager to begin our Life Promotion – Strength in the Journey project and look forward to working with the First Nation youth and their communities in Treaty 6, 7 and 8.”

Gordon Auger, senior manager of support services, First Nations Health Consortium

The successful grant recipients are from regions across the province that work locally to serve and support the mental health of young people, including Indigenous youth. This increased funding will help to address gaps and community needs to provide improved mental health supports and programming.

In 2019, the Government of Alberta launched Building Strength, Inspiring Hope: A Provincial Action Plan for Youth Suicide Prevention 2019-2024. The Youth Suicide Prevention Grant Program was created to help advance the outcomes laid out in the action plan and continue the work achieved through the plan over its first two years.

Quick facts

  • The Youth Suicide Prevention Grant Program funding will be provided to organizations over a two-year period (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2024), and ranges from $50,000 to $150,000 per fiscal year.
  • These 13 successful applicants will receive the 2022-2024 grants, which are being finalized and will range from about $100,000 to $300,000:Camrose Open Door – central region
    • Centre for Suicide Prevention – provincial
    • Canadian Mental Health Association Edmonton – Edmonton region
    • First Nations Health Consortium – provincial
    • Free Play for Kids – Edmonton region
    • Gift Lake Metis Settlement – Gift Lake Metis Settlement
    • Lethbridge Family Services – south region
    • Miywasin Friendship Centre – Medicine Hat
    • Neutral Hills Learning & Community Connection Centre – central region
    • Red Deer Native Friendship Society – central region
    • St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village Society – Sturgeon County
    • University of Calgary – Calgary region
    • YMCA of Northern Alberta – north region

September 10, 2017

Assembly of First Nations

AFN will mark World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2017 by focusing on culture as a way to promote life and wellness, shifting the focus from ‘suicide prevention’ to ‘life promotion.’ Part of this effort involves a social media campaign called ‘Culture for Life‘, encouraging First Nations youth to share how they are connecting to their culture. AFN partnered with Thunderbird Partnership Foundation and First Peoples Wellness Circle to promote ‘Culture for Life’, a social media campaign for First Nations youth that encouraged them to highlight the strength that is gained through culture

September 9, 2019

Assembly of First Nations Québec-Labrador & First Nations of Québec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission

The AFNQL and the FNQLHSSC have joined the collective, Association québécoise de prévention du suicide (AQPS) to develop a National Suicide Prevention Strategy for First Nations and Inuit. Comprised of organizations working in the areas of suicide prevention and health, the collective aims to convince the Quebec government to adopt an effective national strategy to reduce the suicide rate and ensure accessibility, continuity and quality of services for all population groups, including First Nations and Inuit communities. This process will enable First Nations to create and strengthen partnerships to develop local and regional strategies based on their needs and realities. To achieve this, our actions must include access to quality education, employment with adequate working conditions and housing, as well as the elimination of discrimination and prejudice.

June, 2017

Breaking Point: The Suicide Crisis in Indigenous Communities

Response to Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

Breaking Point: The Suicide Crisis in Indigenous Communities

The Committee’s recommendations fall under three broad themes:

  • Self-determination and reconciliation
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Mental Health Services

May 18, 2018

Federation of Sovereign Indian Nations

Suicide Prevention Strategy May 18, 2018

500+ First Nations youth have committed suicide since 2005, 4 x average for non-indigenous. First Nations girls aged 10 to 19 faced a suicide rate 26 times higher than non-First Nations girls in Saskatchewan. The strategy will focus on access to mental health facilities

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations released its suicide prevention strategy that draws on previous efforts from Quebec, Nunavut and U.S. Indigenous communities that have shown promising results.

  • We will take a focused and active approach to suicide prevention
  • We will support community‐led action and build on cultural and community strengths
  • We will invest in the next generation by taking actions to support healthy early childhood development
  • We will better equip children and youth with skills to cope with adverse life events and negative emotions
  • We will strengthen the continuum of culturally appropriate mental health services
  • We will strengthen the continuum of care for substance use and addiction services
  • We will develop a strategy aimed at reducing our high rates of violence and of child sexual abuse
  • We will communicate about prevention and our progress
  • We will support ongoing culturally‐relevant research, monitoring and evaluation

July 24, 2017

Interim Social Emergencies Protocol: Governments of Canada and Ontario

Goal is to deliver faster, more efficient assistance when crises occur:

  • Developing a robust safety strategy for First Nations students attending school in Thunder Bay.
  • Sending 20 mental health counsellors to Pikangikum First Nation to help the community meet its immediate health crisis at a cost of approximately $1.6M.
  • Sending four additional mental health counsellors for Wapekeka First Nation of $200,000
  • Providing more than $200,000 in funding to Wapekeka and Nibinamik for emergency supplies and youth supports.
  • Provided additional crisis funding of $1.2 million for a total of $5 million to support crisis in the north through the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness strategy. A total of $25.7 million is invested by MCSS annually to support mental health and other wellness services in northern communities.
  • Provided more than $480,000 in funding to increase the capacity of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services Unit to improve its ability to provide high quality and timely access to mental health supports for northern First Nations youth.

Will work closely with Indigenous partners, including Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and the federal government to ensure efficient and effective coordination of efforts and resources to address this crisis. We will also establish an Indigenous Youth and Community Wellness Secretariat.

June 26, 2017

Inuusivut Anninaqtuk Action Plan: 2017-2022

Government of Nunavut, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., RCMP “V Division” Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Katujjiqatigiit Embrace Life Council

A five-year Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy Action Plan announced June 26, 2017 as a co-host of Facebook’s Boost Your Community summit. The action plan defines commitments, outcomes and actions for 2017-2022. As a complement to the action plan, program funding for suicide prevention initiatives was also announced to further build on community led action and priorities. The strategy including $2.8 million in grants and contribution funding to support community-led action. Facebook announced the integration of Health Canada’s national toll-free First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line into its online wellness hub and suicide prevention strategy.

Shared commitments include:

  1. we will take a focused and active approach
  2. we will strengthen mental health services
  3. we will support youth resilience
  4. we will deliver intervention training.
  5. we will support ongoing research, monitoring and evaluation
  6. we will communicate with nunavummiut about prevention and our progress
  7. we will support healthy early childhood development
  8. we will support community-led action


Mental Health Commission of Canada: Roots for Life

Roots for Life is an evidence-informed model launched in 2018 by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and is designed to help communities develop suicide prevention guidelines and tools that meet specific needs. The Roots of Hope project is based on community engagement and input from people with lived experience. It focuses on five pillars:

  • specialized support
  • training and networks
  • public awareness campaigns
  • research; and
  • means safety.

9 provinces and territories participate in Roots for Life


National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Plan

In Phase I of NAYSPS (2005-2010), funding under the Strategy flowed from Health Canada to the Health Canada Regional Offices, and then from the Regional Offices to communities or Tribal Councils based on workplans or proposals: 200 First Nations and Inuit suicide prevention projects that ranged from traditional on-the-land activities to the development of local plans and protocols in the event of a suicide crisis

Budget 2010 resulted in an additional $75 million over 5 years to renew the Strategy, allowing First Nations and Inuit communities to continue to address Aboriginal youth suicide. Phase II continues to support First Nations and Inuit communities to design and deliver culturally relevant suicide prevention projects and activities.


National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy

The specific objectives and actions fall within six priority areas:

  1. creating social equity,
  2. creating cultural continuity,
  3. nurturing healthy Inuit children from birth,
  4. ensuring access to a continuum of mental wellness services for Inuit,
  5. healing unresolved trauma and grief, and
  6. mobilizing Inuit knowledge for resilience and suicide prevention.

May, 2020

Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan

Informed by the calls to action and recommendations found in the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth Special Report “Shhh…Listen!! We Have Something to Say! Youth Voices from the North” (2017, the Provincial Auditor’s Report 2018– Volume 1, Chapter 8, the Provincial Auditor’s Report 2019 – Volume 2, Chapter 24 and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations “Saskatchewan First Nations Suicide Prevention Strategy” (2018).

The five pillars of “Roots of Hope”, a Mental Health Commission of Canada provide a framework and structure for communities to tailor suicide prevention activities and link these activities to community needs and strengths. The actions outlined in Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan are grounded in the five pillar approach developed by the MHCC.

The five pillars of the Saskatchewan plan include:

  • specialized supports
  • training
  • awareness
  • means restriction and means safety and
  • research, surveillance and evaluation.

The Government of Saskatchewan is dedicated to supporting the actions under each pillar for a suicide prevention plan that is comprehensive and effective.

May 9, 2022


Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan -Two-Year Anniversary

Government of Saskatchewan: Key actions during Year Two have included:

  • Continued implementation of Roots of Hope programs in three communities: La Ronge, Meadow Lake and Buffalo Narrows. These community-led suicide prevention initiatives rely on the experience of local community leaders to develop culturally appropriate initiatives.
  • Engaging with Indigenous Services Canada and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) to identify collaborative work that aligns with the tri-party Letter of Commitment to Address First Nations Suicide Prevention.
  • Ongoing work to address the Provincial Auditor’s recommendations regarding treating patients at high risk of suicide in the northwest. The Saskatchewan Health Authority hired a manger of suicide prevention and wellness who is working on these recommendations.
  • Customizing an online suicide prevention toolkit for adults and peers who work with youth, to raise awareness about suicide and the services available.
  • Continued support for mental health and suicide prevention public awareness campaigns to inform individuals that help is available for people thinking of, or affected by, suicide.
  • Continued support for the University of Saskatchewan to build a post-secondary suicide prevention framework that can be replicated in other post-secondary institutions.
  • Exploring the feasibility of a provincial safe medication disposal program, as overdose from prescription drugs is a common means of suicide.

With the record investment in mental health and addictions in 2022-23, the Government of Saskatchewan has now invested over $92 million in targeted mental health and addictions initiatives since 2018. This includes over $3 million for initiatives related to Pillars for Life since it was introduced in 2020.

Work will continue in 2022-23 to further address the Provincial Auditor’s recommendations regarding treating patients at high-risk of suicide in the northwest. Progress towards delivering a provincial safe medication disposal initiative will also be continued. In addition to ongoing funding of the Roots of Hope initiatives in La Ronge, Meadow Lake and Buffalo Narrows, opportunities for further expansion of Roots of Hope, or similar community-led initiatives, will be explored.

The Government of Saskatchewan will continue to engage with Indigenous partners, including the FSIN, to identify opportunities to advance suicide prevention in Indigenous communities. Further consultations with stakeholders and partners across the province are ongoing as work continues to improve suicide prevention initiatives in Saskatchewan.

See also “Flaws in Pillars for Life” section in Suicide Prevention Plans for critical perspective through an Indigenous lens



Reducing the Incidence of Suicide in Indigenous Groups – Strengths United through Networks (RISING SUN) is an initiative of the 2015-2017 US Arctic Council Chairmanship

Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

RISING SUN Arctic Council workshop – Review both the Canadian and international communities’ collective understanding of suicide that will ultimately lead to a clear and common understanding of suicide determinants in the Arctic. It will also allow participants to assess activities of the past five years/seven years of evidence gathering and strategies (starting with the Nuuk Conference and up to the more recent development of the RISING SUN Initiative and National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy among others).

The second goal of the Workshop is to jointly determine a format and dissemination strategy that will maximize opportunities for cooperative implementation of the RISING SUN toolkit.

This will take into account current activities underway in the Arctic Council countries that are related to building resilience and preventing suicide. This will also lead to the development of a path forward for future activities under the Arctic Council leadership of Finland’s Chairmanship (2017-2019

Other Background Content By Theme

National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy

Read more

Resilience in Life: 2015-17 Annual Report on the State of Inuit Culture and Society

Read more

SSH...Listen, We Have Something to Say! Youth Voices from the North

Read more