Growing Roots of Hope: Mental Health Commission of Canada expands suicide prevention program

Press Release

From Mental Health Commission of Canada

As World Suicide Prevention Day draws near, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is pleased to announce the expansion of our made-in-Canada, community-based Roots of Hope suicide prevention initiative by welcoming 10 new “early adopters.”

“Roots of Hope is an approach to preventing suicide that includes five distinct components, or pillars, but the communities themselves fill in the blanks, drawing from their unique strengths and identifying specific areas of concern,” explained Michel Rodrigue, MHCC president and CEO. “By expanding this program to include 10 more communities, we are going to glean more knowledge and generate further progress.”

The 10 early adopter communities from across the country have each identified groups that are especially vulnerable to suicide. These include isolated seniors, youth transitioning to the adult mental health system, parents with young children, middle-aged men, and Indigenous people.

“Looking at these populations should tell you one thing,” said Ed Mantler, MHCC vice-president of Programs and Priorities. “No one is immune to suicide. But by zeroing in on people at risk and taking a whole-of-community approach, our goal is to knit together a tighter safety net.”

From Sooke, B.C., to Flin Flon, Manitoba, to New Brunswick, these disparate communities will be able to draw on what the others learn, lean on one another for support, and create a guiding light for regions across the country that wish to adopt an evidence-based approach to suicide prevention.

“Roots of Hope isn’t a one-size-fits-all, fast-food-style approach,” added Rodrigue. “Because communities build out the program, it reflects their cultural, linguistic, and geographic needs. There is something powerful about providing a community with the tools and supports to solve its own challenges. It’s the kind of empowerment that will continue, long after the project runs its course.”

Quick Facts

  • Since 2018, the MHCC has been working with the first cohort of eight Roots of Hope communities (in the research demonstration project) to build capacity in suicide prevention.
  • Early adopter communities will implement Roots of Hope in their communities from 2021 to 2023, with ongoing supports from the MHCC.
  • Each community will also be supported by a dedicated MHCC liaison as they implement activities in their communities.
  • The Roots of Hope model involves cross-sector collaboration and a multi-pronged approach to prevention, intervention, and postvention through a variety of activities under five pillars.

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Mental Health Commission of Canada
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