Child and Youth Crisis Services Steering Committee

Committee name: Simcoe County Child and Youth Crisis Services Steering Committee of the Child, Youth and Family Services Coalition

Primary contact:

Gail Hamelin
705-726-8871 ext 312

Communities included within your committee: All of Simcoe County excluding the area East Highway 400 and South of Highway 89

Sectors involved in the committee: Children’s mental health, education, health and youth justice

Website address:


How did your committee start?

In 2008, Sarnia-Lambton County held a youth suicide awareness conference that featured a protocol developed locally for youth at risk of dying by suicide. Simcoe County set out to develop a similar protocol.  Student support leadership funding was directed to the project and project management was provided by HealthTech Consultants (Katherine Wenrick).


What are the goals/objectives of your committee?

Our vision is a single point of access to a timely, flexible and accessible 24/7 crisis response system that strives to resolve immediate crisis in the least intrusive manner by drawing upon a range of possible responses (e.g. telephone, mobile response, emergency services, follow-up/linkage) for all children, youth and families in Simcoe County


The Simcoe County Crisis Services Steering Committee provides a structure for cross-sectoral, collaborative planning to ensure the delivery of integrated crisis response services for all children, youth and families and caregivers in Simcoe County. Specifically, the steering committee provides:

  • advice on the overall direction, role, function and performance monitoring for the crisis response service system within Simcoe County’s broader continuum of care for children and youth
  • further development and oversight of crisis service system partnerships (e.g. the committee oversees the continued implementation of the Protocol for Youth at High Risk for Suicide: A Community Collaboration)
  • communication with stakeholders regarding the role and function of the crisis service system within Simcoe County’s broader child and youth service system
  • consultation on education of crisis response system staff
  • a forum for clear and prompt feedback on the crisis response services and collective problem-solving to resolve system issues
  • reporting to stakeholders regarding the performance of the crisis service system against established goals and objectives


What key activities has your coalition been involved in?

  • development of the Protocol For Youth at High Risk for Suicide: A Coordinated Community Response supported by cross-sector agencies and student support leadership funding over a period of three years
  • pre-and post-implementation surveys
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit wellness bundle added to the protocol
  • implementation tables created by region in Simcoe County (Barrie and area, North Simcoe, South Simcoe, Orillia and area, Collingwood and area) supported by the coalition and cross-sector agencies
  • steering committee meetings five times per year
  • child and youth crisis intervention training to police officers (twice per year)
  • child and youth suicide risk assessment workshops
  • mental health awareness training including “train-the-trainer”
  • obtained youth suicide community funding from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services that was used for:
    • two Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainers who will deliver three programs annually to 16 direct service staff
    • 10 safeTALK trainers (we estimate facilitating 20 groups with 25 participants in each)
    • two planned postvention workshops
    • postvention workshops translated into French
    • distributed 10,000 youth resource cards
    • development of memorandum of understanding regarding the protocol for youth at risk for suicide

The Child and Youth Crisis Steering Committee is aware of other Simcoe County community initiatives including the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention conference committee (annual conference) and the Simcoe County Suicide Council.

Have any of your activities involved the development of a protocol?

Yes, we developed the Protocol For Youth at High Risk for Suicide: A coordinated community response

Type of protocol:

What success factors can you identify that are helping your coalition to achieve your desired outcomes?

  • Use a coordinated approach with multi-sectoral/cross-sectoral involvement.
  • Ensure funded leadership with clear project goals.
  • Report format to overseeing organization.
  • Plan to build capacity to grow expertise.
  • Create a regionalized approach with a local focus.
  • Provide concrete tasks.
  • Identify and secure champions to provide leadership and support.


Has your coalition faced any significant challenges?

  • It has been problematic to track use of the protocol for youth at high risk for suicide.
  • It has been difficult to ensure fidelity and integration into agency service models.
  • Sustainability has been a challenge. We need to ensure resources are available to continue to support the uptake and continued implementation of the tool as well as ensure there are resources to monitor necessary revisions that incorporate changes in the sector services.


Do you have any tips for other communities mobilizing around youth suicide prevention, risk management and postvention?

  • Partner with adult mental health.
  • Know your regional communities and establish contacts.
  • Secure funding.
  • Hire project management support or secure time for consistent leadership.
  • Ensure there is an oversight organization or committee supporting the initiative to ensure accountability.
  • Pilot efforts and revise outputs.