Suicide prevention strategy works to build hope

Trena Smith, Joe Driscoll, Amanda Brazil and Minister Robert Mitchell

A new strategy has been developed to help create a suicide-safer Prince Edward Island and reduce the painful, long-term effects of suicide on loved ones and communities.

The Department of Health and Wellness -- in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association -- has created The Building Blocks of Hope – A Suicide Prevention Strategy for Prince Edward Island. The strategy advises that suicide-safer communities protect Islanders from hopelessness and work to intentionally build hope.

“Suicide is a very complex issue and often there are many factors that are combined to create the hopelessness that leads to this tragic outcome” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell said. “Therefore our approach to prevention must address these complexities, and communities, government, families, and front-line services all have a vital role to play. We want to reduce suicides by helping those at risk and providing information and support to the loved ones left behind. 

“I want to thank the Canadian Mental Health Association for their work on this strategy,” he said, “and I look forward to continued collaboration as we move forward to implement many of these initiatives.” 

The Building Blocks of Hope is a culmination of the past year’s research, best practice analysis, and consultations with hundreds of Islanders about what needs to be done to address the issue of suicide in this province and prevent future tragedies.

“Suicide prevention is everyone’s business,” said Reid Burke, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association – PEI Division. “For the strategy to be a success it requires everyone to identify the ways in which they can help to implement the recommendations. We are calling on all organizations, municipalities, community groups, government departments and essentially all Islanders to unite together to build hope..”

The strategy’s three“building blocks of hope” are hearing, helping and healing. 
Within these building blocks are six key areas which encompass 65 action items including:
•    modernizing polices pertaining to harassment and bullying within education systems;
•    erecting bridge barriers on Hillsborough Bridge;
•    integrate data streams to be able to effectively track suicides, attempts and ideations in the province;
•    increase promotion of the Island Helpline;
•    support school based education on suicide;
•    establish mobile crisis response units and peer support;
•    mandate Circle of Care  plans upon first point of contact within the health system;
•    ensure proper training, staff resources and supports within the health care system; and
•    provide a provincially resources Critical Incident Stress Management coordinator.

Media contacts:

Autumn Tremere
Health and Wellness

Amanda Brazil
Director, Programs and Policy
Canadian Mental Health Association, PEI Division 

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121