Suicide Prevention Strategy intended to save lives
Strengthening Mental Health Services -
A new strategy is intended to create a suicide-safer Prince Edward Island and reduce the painful, long-term effects of suicides on loved ones and communities.
The Department of Health and Wellness and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) have partnered to create a Provincial Suicide Prevention Strategy for Prince Edward Island. Consultations with key stakeholders and the public will take place over the next year and a report should be completed by the spring of 2018.
“Suicide is a very permanent response to temporary, yet overwhelming pain,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said. “An effective prevention strategy is needed to promote awareness of suicide, while also promoting prevention, resilience, and a commitment to change.”
“The strategy’s overarching aim will be to reduce the rate of suicidal behaviour and its effects on the lives of Islanders,” he added. “There is much work to be done, and I am confident that the Canadian Mental Health Association will provide strong strategic leadership on this file.”
The strategy itself will include preventative goals, priority areas for reducing suicide risk, recommendations for enhanced coordination of services, and key measurement indicators.
“Canadian Mental Health Association-PEI is pleased to be partnering with the provincial government on this very important piece of work,” said Executive Director Reid Burke. “The strategy will create a framework and identify areas that need attention in order to address this public health concern. Our hope is that Islanders will reach out for help when needed and that the supports are available in a timely and appropriate manner.”
The provincial government has allocated more than $55,000 to creating this strategy. Government’s balanced 2017-18 operating budget includes $45 million for mental health programs and services.
Islanders coping with suicidal thoughts are encouraged to call the Island helpline at 1-800-218-2885. If those thoughts escalate, Islanders are advised to go to the nearest emergency department immediately or call 9-1-1.
The Prince Edward Island Chief Public Health Office (CPHO) released the report titled Suicide and Mental Health in PEI 2002-2011. This report showed that the overall rate of suicide in the province was similar to the Canadian average, and that has remained consistent.
The following chart shows the reported cases of suicide on PEI from 2002 to 2016 as provided by the CPHO’s Suicide and Mental Health in PEI 2002-2011 report, and recently released data from the provincial coroner’s office.