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#308conversations – A National Suicide Prevention Initiative

May 4, 2014
Federal Members of Parliament to help shine a light on the issue of suicide in Canada

Ottawa, Ontario — Today, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) launched #308conversations, a national grassroots suicide prevention campaign that invites each of Canada’s 308 Members of Parliament (MPs) to lead a conversation with their constituents about suicide prevention.“Every time a Canadian takes his or her own life, we, as a society, are failing,” said Louise Bradley, MHCC President and CEO. “Saving a life really can begin with something as simple as a conversation. If we commit to having this conversation, lives can – and will – be saved.“

Over the summer months, MHCC is challenging MPs from all political parties to bring together interested community members and stakeholders to share information about what is working and where the gaps are when it comes to suicide prevention in their communities. The goal is to engage Canadians from coast to coast to coast in a national dialogue on suicide prevention that will create lasting solutions for communities large and small.

“I’m grateful to MHCC for providing us this opportunity to start a dialogue across Canada on suicide prevention,” said Dr. Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga. “To quote my friend Scott Chisholm of the Collateral Damage Project, ‘We need to talk about suicide and suicide prevention, because NOT talking about it is NOT working.’”

Using a toolkit developed by MHCC, MPs will harness their local leadership to increase public awareness around mental health and suicide in their community. Working with local leaders, including bereaved survivors of suicide and persons with lived experience, MPs will play a pivotal role in addressing one of the greatest barriers to preventing suicide: stigma and the reluctance of society to discuss this issue openly.

“I have seen the tragic toll suicide has taken on the isolated First Nation communities in Timmins-James Bay,” said Charlie Angus, Member of Parliament for Timmins – James Bay. “But I have also seen the brave folks who step up to make a difference. New Democrats believe that we can do better to ensure the resources are in place to help all Canadians.”

Innovative approaches and practices for dealing with suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention are taking place in communities across Canada. #308conversations will highlight these pockets of good work and results of these community meetings to inform MHCC as it works to develop a best practice community model for suicide prevention.

“Suicide prevention is a challenging issue in cities and towns large and small across Newfoundland and across Canada,” said Scott Simms, Member of Parliament for Bonavista-Exploits. The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s #308conversations initiative will be an effective way for Canadians to learn from the experiences and ideas that are working in one part of the country and share new ideas or approaches that can help our neighbours in our local communities.”

Every year, there are 3,900 suicides in Canada – 90 per cent of which can be attributed to a mental illness or mental health problem. Changing Directions, Changing Lives: the Mental Health Strategy for Canada – includes many recommendations that, when implemented, will significantly advance suicide prevention in Canada. For more information on how to get involved in #308conversations, please visit

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.

For additional information or background, contact:
Katherine Cormack, Director, Communications
Mental Health Commission of Canada
Mobile: 1-403-620-2339
[email protected]