Local Impact

Youth Suicide Prevention

In 2016-17, the Centre continued to offer youth suicide prevention and life promotion coaching support to help communities to sustain their activities. A few examples of such supports are provided below.

Connecting the community in London

There’s a paradox in youth suicide prevention. We all know it’s everybody’s business, but that also means it often ends up being nobody’s responsibility. In London, there were dozens of planning tables discussing elements of youth suicide prevention, but a coordinated effort was lacking. The Centre worked with Heather Fredin, London Family Court Clinic, to bring together people from across community to work together on short-term projects that would support community-wide suicide prevention efforts. “We really tried to keep our goals manageable and doable,” says Fredin. “People can lose momentum if you try to take on too much at a time.” As they worked through a transitional-aged youth project and a postvention protocol, spurred on by crisis in nearby Oxford county, Fredin and the Centre’s youth suicide prevention coach built a solid partnership that connected dots and kept initiatives on track. “We’ve certainly benefitted from her leadership because she has links in so many communities,” says Fredin. “If we do some planning now, in a crisis we will save some resources and some lives.”

Evaluating efforts in Brant

When Ontario’s youth suicide prevention plan was released, the Brant community went all in – assigning dedicated human and financial resources to their efforts. Sarah Precious, the newly-minted suicide prevention specialist at Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services brought community partners together to work towards Brant’s designation as an accredited suicide-safer community. Through evaluation, they saw great potential to add to a small but growing body of research in this area. They also wanted to reassure themselves that they were on the right track. The Centre’s youth suicide prevention coach brought expertise in both youth suicide prevention and evaluation to the table, and the team connected to develop logic models, look for appropriate indicators and measures, and established activities that could reasonably be evaluated.

Prevention through postvention in Oxford county

When a cluster of Oxford County young people died by suicide in 2016, it was perhaps the worst way for a community to discover that it wasn’t ready for this kind of a crisis. People were shocked, angry, and grieving – yet they quickly pulled together to design an effective postvention response while figuring out what they needed to ensure it didn’t happen again. The Centre team was heartbroken to hear of the ongoing crisis in Oxford and we extended our support to the community. Our youth suicide prevention coach, Cecilia Marie Flynn, brought the right people to the table together to discuss both the current situation and a longer-term plan. “When you are in a crisis, someone has to take charge,” said Flynn. “They don’t have the time or energy to manage these processes and so that’s where I jumped in to help.” The community struck a leadership council, representing diverse sectors and strengths – including young people themselves. They launched a community needs assessment, with recommendations expected in Fall 2017. The Centre is looking forward to working with leaders and young people in Oxford County to turn those recommendations into reality.

In 2016-17, the Centre provided evidence-informed support to 13 communities mobilizing to build life-saving youth suicide prevention, risk management and postvention strategies.
[...] the Centre’s youth suicide prevention coach built a solid partnership that connected dots and kept initiatives on track.
The community struck a leadership council, representing diverse sectors and strengths – including young people themselves. They launched a community needs assessment, with recommendations expected in Fall 2017.
The Centre’s youth suicide prevention coach brought expertise in both youth suicide prevention and evaluation to the table, and the team connected to develop logic models, look for appropriate indicators and measures, and established activities that could reasonably be evaluated.