This year saw many developments in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention in Canada and momentum continues to grow. CASP has worked hard to not only keep pace with these developments we have tried to stay out in front and along with other partners help chart the course of suicide prevention in Canada for the next year and beyond. This has certainly taxed our limited resources as never before yet it has not taxed our passion, enthusiasm, or commitment. It’s been a good year, a productive and constructive year and an exhausting year. As is often said be careful what you ask for. After years of asking many things we have asked and hoped for have been answered. It’s been a year where the idea of meaningful collaboration went from talk to action and many new important relationships and partnerships have been forged.
Two years ago in Vancouver the CASP Board put forward the idea of a national suicide prevention collaborative. This year in partnership with our friends at the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHC) the National Suicide Prevention Collaborative took shape and took off. Approximately twenty national organizations are now involved in this undertaking. At the same time an initiative lead by CASP to establish a National Distress Line Network went into hyper drive and is now well underway to becoming a reality.
CASP was overjoyed this year when it was announced that the MHCC made suicide prevention one of its five priorities. Since making that announcement CASP and the MHCC have begun to work closely on numerous initiatives including this past years very successful World Suicide Prevention. This year’s World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) theme was Hope and Resiliency at Home and Work Day. This theme contained two words that fit well when describing the character of CASP “Hope” and “Resilient”. If nothing else CASP has always been hopeful and proven to be resilient as well as patient, and persistent. During WSPD two new resources developed by CASP in partnership with Klinic Community Health Centre where showcased “Hope and Resiliency and Home” and “Hope and Resiliency at Work”. Both these resources where revised this year and with support from the MHCC translated in French. These resources where made available at no cost to organizations and communities across the country. CASP was represented by our President Dammy Damstrom-Albach in Ottawa at a WPSD event organized by the MHCC and which took place on the grounds of parliament.
CASP was also involved in consultations on the implementation of Bill C300 arranged by PHAC. CASP stands ready to do its part in moving this landmark piece of legislation from theory into practice.
Two other noteworthy accomplishments were that the Board of Directors approved a set of Guiding Principles for CASP. At an all day meeting of the Board in Montreal the Board of Directors developed a new Vision/Mission statement and established strategic directions for the next three years. CASP’s new vision statement “ Sharing Hope and Resiliency” is supported by a mission of “Promoting collaboration and shared responsibility to prevent suicide and support those whose lives have been impacted”.
In an attempt to better connect with our members and provide them with an opportunity to participate in this planning process a series of webinars where arranged for CASP members. These webinars allowed members to interact with CASP executive and offer their thoughts on the future direction of our organization. This was also a year where half the board was made up of brand new board members.