In Spring 2015, Ian Dawe, MHSc, MD, FRCPC chaired a task force with the aim of creating suicide prevention standards for Ontario’s hospitals. “A suicide-safe community is one that is passionate in the belief that suicides are in fact preventable and that we can and should do more to stop suicide,” said Dr. Dawe in late 2016 (InsideHalton.com).
The article continued: “It’s based on the belief everyone has a fundamental right to have a future filled with hope and possibility. It’s a community that acknowledges that, in times of emotional distress among its citizens, those citizens have the right and access to the supports and services they require. They’ve developed action plans for how to manage those.”
In early 2017, Dr. Dawe participated in the third Zero Suicide International summit in Sydney, Australia, and by August, led the publication of “Strengthening Suicide Prevention in Ontario Hospitals,” which had as its top recommendation implementing the Zero Suicide model in hospitals across the province.
Today, Ontario’s Project Zero is rolling up the hospital initiative and adding components of population health, targeted clinical training for community mental health (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, etc.) and investment in training for schools, including mindfulness. They have $3 million in government seed money that was approved in mid 2018 and a probable corporate match funding. Their team believes the interest and engagement is going to yield a significant investment as these top leaders have taken on the charge, and expanded it to a vision of eliminating suicide among children and youth by 2027.