NationTalk: The Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology released a report on June 8, 2023, of recommendations regarding the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention and its evaluation, entitled Doing What Works.
The Senate report calls on the Government of Canada to update the Framework and prioritize, among other things, improved national suicide and suicide prevention data collection and analysis. Specific emphasis also needs to be given to priority populations including Indigenous and racialized communities, boys and men, and people with mental illnesses.
Centre for Suicide Prevention provided witness testimony to the Senate during their study and, alongside the Canadian Mental Health Association, appreciate the Senate keeping suicide prevention in the foreground by reviewing the implementation progress of the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention. Suicide is a mental health crisis and a public health crisis: To reduce suicide, we need both a mental health approach focused on individuals and a public health approach focused on populations.
The Senate report comes just months before the Government of Canada launches 988— three-digit dialing for Talk Suicide, Canada’s national suicide crisis helpline— in November 2023. Crisis lines, which aim to help people deescalate from crisis, psychological distress, and risk of suicide, are an integral part of our public mental healthcare system. Adequate care that helps prevent crisis from arising in the first place and support for people after crisis, are gaps in most communities across Canada. We need to strengthen our community mental healthcare system to meet people’s needs.
The federal Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, acknowledged the Framework’s weaknesses at the outset of the committee’s hearings and committed to publishing a suicide prevention action plan in the fall.
For more information about suicide prevention frameworks, action plans, and strategies, check out these resources:
- Briefing note: Suicide prevention initiatives in Canada
- Article: Does Canada need a national suicide prevention strategy?
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis yourself, or know someone who is, there is hope and help:
- Thinking of suicide? Please call Talk Suicide at 1-833-456-4566 anytime or text 45645 4PM-midnight ET.
- For residents of Quebec, call 1-866-277-3553 or visit www.suicide.ca for support by text and online chat.
Centre for Suicide Prevention is a branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. For over 40 years we have been equipping Canadians with knowledge and skills to respond to people thinking about suicide.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most extensive community mental health organization in Canada with a presence in more than 330 communities across every province and the Yukon. CMHA provides advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.
For media inquiries:
National Communications Officer
Canadian Mental Health Association