Saskatchewan Making Progress on Suicide Prevention Work
One Year Anniversary of Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan
The Government of Saskatchewan is providing an update on suicide prevention initiatives across the province to mark the one-year anniversary of the release of Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan. This plan focuses on efforts to support individuals and families at risk of suicide.
"The loss of one life to suicide is too many," Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said. "We continue to work closely with our partners on the priorities in the Pillars for Life plan. I am pleased to provide an update on what has been accomplished and where we're focusing this year."
Released May 8, 2020, Pillars for Life was a starting point for Saskatchewan that is being built upon by government and partners to improve and expand suicide prevention efforts in the province. It serves as a guide to coordinate activities to promote life and reduce risk factors related to suicide in Saskatchewan.
Key actions during Year-One have included:
- recruitment and hiring by the Saskatchewan Health Authority for a Suicide Prevention and Wellness coordinator;
- a mental health public awareness campaign to inform individuals that help is available for people thinking of, or affected by, suicide;
- funds to support capital improvements within inpatient mental health facilities to modify environments and implement measures to mitigate against risk;
- support for the University of Saskatchewan to build a post-secondary suicide prevention framework that can be replicated in other post-secondary institutions;
- engaging with Indigenous Services Canada and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations to identify collaborative work that aligns with the tri-party Letter of Commitment to Address First Nations Suicide Prevention (signed in 2020);
- continued support for the Mental Health Capacity Building initiative in five schools across Saskatchewan; and
- continued implementation of Roots of Hope programs in three communities: La Ronge, Meadow Lake and Buffalo Narrows.
In 2021-22, the Government of Saskatchewan is investing a record high total of $458 million for mental health and addiction services and supports, including a new investment of $1 million to support suicide prevention.
Further improvements to be implemented in 2021-22 include: support for the development of Integrated Youth Services, more addiction treatment beds in Estevan, addressing waitlists for mental health and addictions services as a result of COVID-19 and further support for Pillars for Life.
Planning for priority Pillars for Life work for 2021-22 is in progress and includes: training to enhance skill development on communication and awareness best practice, expanded suicide prevention public awareness campaigns, establishing a robust data and evaluation framework and further support to Roots of Hope.
Consultations with stakeholders and partners across the province are ongoing as we work together to improve suicide prevention initiatives in Saskatchewan.
"There is more work to be done, and we know we can't do it alone," Hindley said. "Suicide prevention is a complex issue and it will take collaboration with partners to ensure that we are providing assistance to those who need it, when they need it, and where they need it."
Pillars for Life is posted at www.saskatchewan.ca/pillars-for-life along with information about resources available on suicide prevention and mental health.