Parliamentarians Join Canadians and Call for National Suicide Prevention Strategy
Ottawa — This week, Liberal leader Bob Rae will introduce an opposition motion calling upon the federal government to establish and fund a National Suicide Prevention Strategy. This motion provides further evidence that suicide prevention is a non partisan issue and is being recognized as a national public health priority across party lines.
“We have been calling for a national suicide prevention strategy for well over a decade. It often felt like no one in Ottawa was listening”, states Tim Wall, Executive Director of CASP. Wall went onto say that “Ottawa’s long held silence and inaction on this urgent public health issue is now breaking. Parliamentarians from every party are speaking publically about suicide prevention and calling upon the national government to take action and recognize international guidelines that call for national suicide prevention strategies and coordinating bodies”.
“This is an exciting development. We need leadership from our federal politicians to advance good health policy. Canada stands alone as one of the few developed nations without a national strategy for the prevention of suicide. It is astonishing that more hasn’t been done to stop this serious yet often preventable public health problem,” said Dr. Nizar Ladha, President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.
“We’re encouraged that members of parliament from every party have stepped up to the plate and demonstrated their concern and compassion by advocating for the need for a national suicide prevention strategy or framework” said Alex Saunders, Executive Director of the CPA. He went on to say that “champions like MPs Harold Albrecht and Megan Leslie have been working diligently in support of suicide prevention and a national strategy or framework”. Both Mr. Albrecht and Ms. Leslie have tabled private member bills to create a federal framework or strategy for Suicide Prevention. Mr. Albrecht and Ms Leslie are this year’s recipients of CASP’s President Award for their ongoing efforts in support of suicide prevention on a national level.
“A National Suicide Prevention Strategy is needed to deal with the biological, psychological and social complexities of suicide in Canada,” said Peter Coleridge, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Mental Health Association. “We urge the Federal Government to take leadership in the long overdue development of a national strategy.”
“We urge all Canadians to voice their support for suicide prevention and contact their members of parliament asking them to put their compassion into action and support these calls for a national strategy and coordinating body, said Dammy Damstrom Albach, President of CASP. “It is our hope that by next September 10th, World Suicide Prevention Day, we will be able to announce to the rest of the world that Canada has joined other countries and finally has a national strategy and coordinating body.”