The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) was founded and incorporated in 1985 by a group of professionals who saw the need to provide information and resources to communities to reduce the suicide rate and minimize the harmful consequences of suicidal behaviour.
CASP’s Board of Directors with help from other organizations and individuals has worked hard to influence the implementation of a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention in Canada for over 25 years. One of its first steps was to prepare the CASP Blueprint for a National Suicide Prevention Strategy released in 2007 to all government levels and revised with a second Edition published in 2009. Many regions and countries have used the Blueprint to create their own strategies. Canada remains one of the few industrialized countries that has not implemented a suicide prevention strategy.
With patience and persistence CASP has continued to find ways of influencing change on a National level through presentations at Parliamentary Committees, informing the development of the strategy to implement and monitor the progress of Bill C300, a bill passed by Parliament in February, 2013 to create a National Suicide Prevention Framework.
In the last two years, CASP has partnered with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to create The National Collaborative for Suicide Prevention. The collective is comprised of social and health-based national organizations invested in the promotion of mental health and well-being, the prevention of mental illness and in building capacity to reduce the risk of suicide and bolster resilience. Suicide prevention efforts in Canada have been hampered by fragmentation. This newly formed body contributes to the reduction of suicide risk and all the associated impacts through collective action, information sharing and working cooperatively to build on one another’s efforts and initiatives. It will include representation from survivors of suicide loss, and suicide attempt survivors who have a vested interest in and commitment to preventing suicides and promoting hope and resiliency for all Canadians.
We hope that working together as members of the National Collaborative for Suicide Prevention will reduce numbers of suicides and suicide attempts. Our overall aim is to increase the capacity for effective suicide prevention, intervention and postvention by connecting people, ideas, and resources on a pan-Canadian level and therefore:
- Enhance capacity building for suicide prevention in Canada;
- Build awareness of suicide as a social and public health problem;
- Integrate suicide prevention and information in the work of each of our organizations;
- Promote knowledge exchange and mobilization on suicide prevention across Canada;
- Promote strategies and leading practices to reduce the incidence and prevalence of suicidal behaviors;
- Support and enhance efforts at the local, provincial, territorial, and national level to prevent suicides; and
- Promote awareness of the benefits of postvention and supports for those bereaved by suicide.
CASP continues to focus on knowledge exchange and has recently published two valuable resources to assist families and workplaces to engage in life promotion and life saving conversations. Hope and Resiliency at Home and Hope and Resiliency at Work contain useful information about ways Canadians can enhance their mental well being and those of others thereby promoting a suicide safer community. These resources can be found on our website at www.suicideprevention.ca.
CASP is also hosting its Annual Conference in Winnipeg on October 1 and 2, 2013. As a continuation of the Hope and Resiliency at Work and Home and life promotion theme, the conference will focus on ‘Creating New Pathways: Trauma Informed Approaches to Suicide Prevention’. This event is also a collaborative initiative, occurring in tandem with the annual conference of the Native Mental Health Association whose annual gathering immediately precedes our own and will focus also on trauma, from an indigenous perspective.
For more information and to register, visit www.caspconference.ca.