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Suicide Prevention Plan Marks Three-Year Anniversary With Progress Update

The Government of Saskatchewan is providing an update on suicide prevention initiatives as part of the three-year anniversary of Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan.

Released May 8, 2020, Pillars for Life serves as a guide to coordinate activities to promote life and reduce risk factors related to suicide.

“The tragic loss of one person to suicide is one person too many,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley said. “Suicide prevention is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Our Pillars for Life plan is making progress on a number of initiatives with groups and organizations across our province to support the mental health of Saskatchewan residents.”

Key actions during Year Three have included:

  • Funding the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan to deliver a provincial safe medication disposal program to reduce the risk of suicide from unused or expired prescription drugs. 
  • Provided funding to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) for a youth mental wellness camp and for peer supports and training for Indigenous youth regarding mental health and suicide prevention.     
  • Continued implementation of Roots of Hope programs in three communities: La Ronge, Meadow Lake and Buffalo Narrows. These community-led suicide prevention initiatives rely on the experience of local community leaders to develop culturally appropriate initiatives. 
  • Ongoing work to address the Provincial Auditor’s recommendations regarding treating patients at high risk of suicide in the northwest. 
  • Continued support for a suicide prevention public awareness campaign to inform individuals that help is available for people thinking of, or affected by, suicide.  
  • Coordinated media training through the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma. Training highlights sensitive and responsible reporting on mental health and suicide. 
  • Support for the University of Saskatchewan’s post-secondary suicide prevention framework, which launched in September 2022, and can be replicated in other post-secondary institutions. 

With a record investment of $518 million in mental health and addictions in 2023-24, the Government of Saskatchewan has now invested more than $104 million in targeted mental health and addictions initiatives since 2018. This includes more than $5.0 million for initiatives related to suicide prevention since it was introduced in 2020. 

Work will continue in 2023-24 to further address the Provincial Auditor’s recommendations regarding treating patients at high-risk of suicide in the northwest.  Consultations will continue with people affected by suicide such as Caring Hearts, a group contracted to capture the voice of people with lived experience to inform Pillars work and suicide prevention. 

Work will get underway on a postvention program, an initiative that offers timely support services to individuals and families experiencing a suicide loss. In collaboration with the Ministry of Government Relations and the Embracing Life initiative, work will also begin on youth mentor training in the north, a northern forum on suicide prevention and community wellness, and a video to support a suicide prevention app launch. 

The Government of Saskatchewan will continue to engage with Indigenous partners, including the FSIN, to identify opportunities to advance suicide prevention in Indigenous communities. Further consultations with stakeholders and partners across the province are ongoing as work continues to improve suicide prevention initiatives in Saskatchewan.

Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan is posted at saskatchewan.ca/pillars-for-life along with information about resources available on suicide prevention and mental health.

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