Government of Canada announces National Suicide Prevention Action Plan

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

May 31, 2024

Every year, approximately 4,500 people die by suicide in Canada. This is the equivalent to approximately 12 deaths every day. The impacts of suicide extend far beyond the individual – each life lost sends ripples of pain through family, friends, and communities. This is a significant, national public health issue and concerted action, from all levels, must be taken to prevent suicide and save lives.

Today, the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced the release of Canada’s first National Suicide Prevention Action Plan (the Action Plan). The Action Plan lays the foundation for increased collaboration and engagement with partners across the country to strengthen Canada’s response to suicide.

The Action Plan leverages current evidence and builds on the existing Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention and the momentum and collaboration from the successful launch of the 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline. The Action Plan sets a vision for Canada’s suicide prevention efforts and identifies key areas of action over the next three years, including:

  • Enhancing data and monitoring to identify where specific gaps and needs exist;
  • Advancing research and evaluation efforts to better understand what works for suicide prevention and life promotion;
  • Ensuring there are effective supports and services for people in Canada; and
  • Developing governance mechanisms to ensure greater collaboration among partners, including provinces and territories, Indigenous organizations, communities and people with lived and living experience.

Preventing suicide requires collaboration across all levels of government, partners and sectors. Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Ministers responsible for Mental Health and Substance Use convened on March 5, 2024 to discuss the Action Plan and together, confirmed a shared commitment for collaboration on suicide prevention and life promotion efforts.

Despite the complexities related to suicide, there is hope. Together, we can strengthen our suicide prevention efforts for all people in Canada, so that fewer lives are lost to suicide and people and communities are supported in their wellbeing.

If you are thinking about suicide or worried that someone you know may be thinking about suicide, you can call or text 9-8-8 for support in English or French, 24/7/365.

Quotes

“When it comes to mental health and suicide prevention, we cannot work in isolation. We can make a greater impact and provide better support working together, as a collective, across all jurisdictions. The Action Plan will bring together key partners to advance suicide prevention and life promotion efforts so that fewer lives are lost to suicide in Canada. Together, we are here to support Canadians and provide hope when it’s needed most.”

The Honourable Ya’ara Saks
Associate Minister of Health and Minister of Mental Health and Addiction
“Everyday, there are people living in Canada who struggle with their mental health and thoughts of suicide. We need to make sure that help is available to those who need it, when they need it most. The Action Plan is another step in the right direction. By bringing together key partners and leveraging existing knowledge and experience we are supporting those in crisis, improving overall mental health and helping prevent suicide.”

Élisabeth Brière
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
“I am pleased to see the Government’s steadfast commitment to suicide prevention, and to fostering an environment that promotes life. The newly released National Suicide Prevention Action Plan will enable communities to implement tailored interventions, such as the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Roots of Hope suicide prevention model, to meet their unique needs.”

Michel Rodrigue
CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada
“We commend the government for developing this Action Plan. Together with the three-digit Suicide Crisis Helpline (9-8-8), Canada is taking important steps towards preventing tragic losses to suicide. We look forward to working with the government as it plays an increasing leadership role in suicide prevention.”

Mara Grunau
Executive Director, Centre for Suicide Prevention, Canadian Mental Health Association
“The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention has long advocated for a national strategy for suicide prevention in Canada. It is in that light that we applaud the recent implementation of the national 988 crisis line and now the National Suicide Prevention Action Plan as extremely positive steps in the right direction.”

Sean Krausert
Executive Director, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

Quick facts

  • An average of 4,500 people across Canada die by suicide each year – approximately 12 people per day.
  • Despite suicide prevention efforts across the country, this rate has not decreased since 2006. In Canada, suicide continues to be the ninth leading cause of death overall, and the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults aged 15 to 34 years.
  • Important efforts have been undertaken by First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to restore culture and foster healing including through community-driven mental health, wellness and life promotion.
  • The Action Plan does not replace any existing strategies or frameworks led by provinces, territories, Indigenous communities or organizations. Rather, it seeks to complement and support these efforts and the need for distinctions-based, people-specific life promotion and suicide prevention approaches.
  • Suicide prevention and life promotion approaches must consider the lasting and ongoing impacts of colonialism, while leading with protective factors including culture, language, connection to community and to the land, self-determination and equitable access to essential services including housing, education and health services, among others.
  • Budget 2024 proposes an investment of $500 million over five years for a new Youth Mental Health Fund to help younger Canadians access mental health care. This new Fund will be designed to help community health organizations expand the mental health care provided for younger Canadians. It will also serve to ensure these organizations are equipped to refer youth to broader networks of mental health supports when they are needed.
  • The 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline is available to everyone in Canada via voice and text, 24/7, 365 days a year, in both English and French.

Associated links

Contacts
Yuval Daniel
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ya’ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
613-290-0318

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Inquiries
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

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