Yesterday the Federal Government released their Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention, Working Together to Prevent Suicide in Canada. We would like to commend the Government for this framework, which serves as guidance in suicide prevention for the Federal Government.

The Framework was developed after much consultation, out of it comes six legislated elements for action:

  1. Provide guidelines to improve public awareness and knowledge of suicide.
  2. Disseminate information about suicide and its prevention.
  3. Make existing statistics about suicide and related risk factors publicly available.
  4. Promote collaboration and knowledge exchange across domains, sectors, regions and jurisdictions.
  5. Define best practices for suicide prevention.
  6. Promote the use of research and evidence-based practices for suicide prevention.

The report states that “In the short term, these actions will improve the federal government’s contribution to suicide prevention. Ultimately, these actions will help reduce rates of suicide by breaking down the stigma and silence around suicide, encouraging people to have an open dialogue about suicide prevention and promoting the development of suicide prevention initiatives throughout Canada using best practices that are informed by knowledge and research.”

While we commend the government for releasing this framework, we believe that a national strategy is needed. A framework does not identify the necessary jurisdictional mandates or resources; responsibilities are not defined in a clear way, and there are no definitive timelines. A framework does not have the sheer weight or power of an official strategy.

We are pleased to hear that the Department of National Defence is developing a suicide prevention strategy for the military, and hope that this will reduce the increasing suicide rate of military personnel.