Niagara Suicide Prevention Coalition

Coalition name: Niagara Suicide Prevention Coalition

Primary contact: nspcc@live.ca

Communities included within your coalition: Niagara region

Number of agencies involved in your coalition: 20-25

Sectors involved in the coalition: Education, health, social services, mental health

Website address:  http://niagarasuicideprevention.weebly.com/

 

How did your coalition start?

The Niagara Suicide Prevention Coalition was formed in the fall of 2003 due to a concern regarding the increase in the number of suicides in the Niagara Region. The coalition has grown to include over 20 agencies and members at large.

 

What are the goals/objectives of your coalition?

The Niagara Suicide Prevention Coalition (NSPC) is dedicated to promoting suicide prevention, intervention and postvention within the Niagara community. A regional strategy released in 2006 identified goals and objectives that would support efforts aimed at creating a suicide-safer Niagara. As outlined in the 2006 strategy, the purpose of the NSPC is to build strong community partnerships that will work together to develop a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy to address the needs of all residents of Niagara and to reflect the values of a caring and compassionate community.

 

What are some of the key activities your coalition has been involved in?

Over the past ten years the NSPC achieved the following successes:

  • engaging and collaborating with the community to help create a regional strategy in 2006
  • beginning the implementation process of the regional strategy
  • hosting and co-hosting three suicide prevention conferences (at the provincial and national levels)
  • training ten members as trainers for the Living Works’ Inc. suicide prevention training program, safeTALK
  • surveying Niagara’s readiness for suicide prevention messages, and attitudes, knowledge and comfort towards suicide
  • receiving a grant in 2014 from the Niagara community foundation to conduct a pilot project of the safeTALK program that is free to Niagara residents
  • collaborating with Niagara Connects and forming a reference group to help provide leadership and visionary support for the NSPC
  • developing a Niagara specific report related to suicide and self-harm behaviours in Niagara to be released in 2014

 

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

The NSPC is a non-funded community coalition. Our greatest success is the collaboration among cross-sector agencies within the Niagara region. The coalition has grown to include over 20 agencies and members-at-large. This has enabled us to reach different demographics and allowed us to receive a grant to provide 500 free safeTALK trainings in the area. The NSPC has also partnered with Niagara Connects to contribute to the development of a recent initiative: the Mental Health and Addiction Charter. We continue to ensure that suicide prevention remains at the forefront during the implementation process.

 

Has your coalition faced any significant challenges? If so, what are they and what have you done (or what’s being done) to address them?

As a non-funded coalition, participation from all individuals and agencies is on a volunteer basis. Tasks are an added responsibility and not always a part of individuals’ or agencies’ mandate. Over the past few years, funding for many of our agencies has dwindled, however the need for the various services provided from our community partners has increased. This has made it difficult for individuals and agencies to participate in the activities of the coalition, whether it is by offering their time or resources. Creating an awareness of the importance of such a complex subject, as well as developing strong partnerships with the community, has helped the NSPC receive ongoing support from individuals and those community partners.

 

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

Although engaging youth is very important, we have found that engaging agencies already working with youth has been successful. This has enabled the NSPC to have a presence at existing youth events and meetings as well as enhanced our partnerships with community agencies working with the young population.