Bryan Hayes, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sault Ste. Marie, hosted a community conversation about suicide prevention this morning at the Civic Centre. This community meeting, part of the #308conversations initiative launched by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), was designed to gather valuable insight and ideas surrounding suicide prevention across Canada. More than 60 stakeholders attended this community event to provide insight and share their ideas and experiences.
The goal of this initiative is to share insight from all parts of Canada and to work together to create lasting solutions that will serve our communities. “I would like to personally thank those in my community who made this event possible including my Constituency Office Assistant, Sherry Frechette, Annette Katajamaki, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association SSM, Jan Metheany, Program Manager of Community Mental Health Support Services at Algoma Public Health, Darryl Fillmore, Manager Intensive Treatment Services of Algoma Family Services, Kathleen McLean , Manager of Community Mental Health of Sault Area Hospital, and Robin Kerr, Executive Director of Victim Services Algoma,” Said MP Bryan Hayes.
Upon arrival, stakeholders were divided into groups and provided with theme topics for discussion. Each discussion was facilitated by a community organization leader. The themes discussed were as follows:
· THEME 1: DISCUSSING SUICIDE – Sault Area Hospital
· THEME 2: SUICIDE AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE – Algoma Public Health
· THEME 3: STIGMA – Canadian Mental Health Association
· THEME 4: RESOURCE DEPLOYMENT – Algoma Family Services
Discussion focused significantly on the need for the entire community to become involved in terms of better understanding and recognizing the signs of suicidal ideation and intervention. In pursuit of this, it was identified that the education system has a role to play in terms of providing mental health education to our children in school, as well as encouraging youth leadership in peer-to-peer support. It was identified that it is extremely important to get information on suicide prevention to our children sooner. There was also some discussion on what community supports and resources is required to make Sault Ste. Marie a suicide safe community including what resources employers should be providing in the workplace. The largest key theme was the need for awareness training and how this might best be delivered. A comprehensive report with all outcomes and recommendations will be compiled and delivered to the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Federal Government in support of the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention Act.
“I would like to thank everyone who attended Sault Ste. Marie`s #308conversations. I am humbled to be able to bring together our community’s mental health leaders with constituents whose lives may have been impacted by suicide,” said MP Hayes. “#308conversations is definitely a step in the right direction for Sault Ste. Marie and for all Members of Parliament, in the 308 ridings across Canada, who participated in this valuable grassroots effort.”