Suicide is a major public health issue in Canada and in spite of our alarming suicide rate Canada remains one of the few industrialized countries that still does not have a national suicide prevention strategy. In 2009 the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) published its second edition of A National Suicide Prevention Strategy called The Blueprint. While provinces throughout Canada have used this document to establish provincial suicide prevention frameworks as well as receiving international recognition this document has yet to be acknowledged by the Canadian Government. Canada must join other countries such as the U.S.A, U.K., Australia, New Zealand and many other European and Asian countries and establish our own national suicide prevention strategy.
What is the Blueprint?
The Blueprint is a national suicide prevention strategy for Canada. It is also a policy agenda, a national task list, and tool for identifying best practices, and a roadmap to and integrated solution. It covers every aspect of our concerns as a nation respecting suicide prevention, research, education, treatment, crisis intervention and bereavement support. As researchers, authors and suicide prevention leaders, we have tried to address issues, needed improvements, and emerging best practices in a practical, achievable and humane manner. While we accept that any national strategy will require public debate and pan-Canadian input, we have put forward our Blueprint as a starting point for such debate and input, hoping to both challenge law makers and governments and kick start a process that is decades overdue. As members and directors of CASP, we have offered our leadership and expertise to motivate and assist our governments in fulfilling their own leadership roles.
The CASP National Suicide Prevention Strategy: A Three Year Effort
To unite all communities, governments, organizations and resources across Canada with CASP and our stakeholders to work effectively together to prevent death by suicide and to assist, educate and comfort those who have been impacted by suicidal behaviours.
Guiding Principles of the Blueprint
The following guiding principles were used to guide the development of this blueprint
- Suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility.
- Canadians respect our multicultural and diverse society and accept responsibility to support the dignity of human life.
- Suicide is an interaction of biological, psychological, social and spiritual factors and can be influenced by societal attitudes and conditions.
- Strategies must be humane, kindly, effective, caring and should be:
- Active and informed.
- Respectful of community and culture-based knowledge.
- Inclusive of research, surveillance, evaluation and reporting.
- Reflective of evolving knowledge and practices.
- Many suicides are preventable by knowledgeable, caring, compassionate and committed communities.
Canada has a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise to approach suicide as a public health issue and as a preventable problem. Realistic opportunities exist for saving many lives. With a national commitment and with a will expressed through a national strategy to reduce suicide and its impact, Canadians can move forward together.
- CASP National Suicide Prevention Strategy (hyper link to the strategy)
CASP urges the Government of Canada to take immediate action and move forward on establishing a national suicide prevention strategy. All Canadians can play a role in suicide prevention. CASP invites all Canadians to contact their member of parliament and urge them to demonstrate their concern and compassion by supporting the call for a National Suicide Prevention Strategy and a National Suicide Prevention Coordinating Body as called for by the United Nations and World Health Organization.
An Act respecting a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention
In December 2012, An Act respecting a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention became law. This framework is not a national strategy nor does it replace existing strategies or frameworks implemented by provinces, territories, communities or Indigenous organizations. The Framework sets out the Government of Canada’s strategic objectives, guiding principles and commitments in suicide prevention. It focuses on better connections among people, information and resources as well as research and innovation in order to raise awareness, reduce stigma and prevent suicide.
As mandated by the Framework, the Government of Canada will report to Canadians by December 2016 and every two years thereafter on its progress and activities.