You’ve got an important job to do, so it’s essential that you have all the information, tools and resources you need right at your fingertips. This section explores training opportunities as well as resources for schools, for health care professionals and for working with families.
Searching for a specific resource? Search no more! You’ll find all resources housed on the toolkit here.
Understanding youth suicide
Acting on What We Know: Preventing Youth Suicide in First Nations, developed by the Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, introduces the issue of First Nation youth suicides in Canada, and discusses putting forward an evidence-based, community-driven approach to prevention.
Preventing suicide: a global imperative is a 2014 report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Preventing Suicide in Children and Youth is an issue released by Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly at Simon Fraser University. Schwartz et al. (2009) review prevention programs and targeted treatments for young people who have attempted suicide.
Preventing Suicide in Youth: Taking Action with Imperfect Knowledge is a research report written by White (2005) for the British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development outlining the key components of prevention and the effectiveness of different prevention programs based on three main contexts for program delivery: parent/caregiver and family interventions, school interventions, and community interventions. The document also highlights considerations for taking action.
Preventing Youth Suicide: A Guide for Practitioners resource provides practitioners with the most current information on youth suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.
Promising Strategies (Aboriginal Youth: A Manual of Promising Suicide Prevention Strategies) is a manual housed on the Children’s Mental Health Ontario website developed for those who want to develop and implement suicide prevention programs for aboriginal youth.
Towards Evidence-Based Suicide Prevention Programs, written by the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region, is a report that provides a framework for suicide prevention strategies and outlines well-established suicide prevention programs across the world.
Youth Suicide Prevention at School: A Resource for School Mental Health Leadership Teams developed by School Mental Health ASSIST discusses strategies for supporting student well-being in schools.
Youth Suicide Prevention Programs: A Resource Guide is housed on the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website and is intended for communities interested in developing or improving programs to prevent youth suicide.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) brings together people across communities and backgrounds to understand and prevent suicide, and to help heal the pain it causes. Their website provides information and resources related to suicide prevention.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) website offers resources, research and information related to suicide and building suicide safer communities.
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides resources related to youth suicide prevention including a toolkit for schools and media reporting guidelines.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development in British Columbia provides web-based information, tools and resources on preventing youth suicide geared towards youth, parents/caregivers, professionals, communities, and the media.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Centre (SPRC) is devoted to advancing the United States’ National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and provides technical assistance, training and materials to increase the knowledge and expertise of suicide prevention practitioners and other professionals serving people at risk for suicide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) website provides information and resources on youth suicide prevention, including a document to assist the development and implementation of a public health action framework for suicide prevention, and a resource series with guidelines for different groups in multiple languages.
Your Life Counts is a network of people from various walks of life who came together to provide resources on youth suicide prevention. Your Life Counts’ website provides a list of examples of suicide prevention strategies from around the world.
Examples of suicide prevention strategies from different provinces in Canada
Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy, Framework for Suicide Prevention (Manitoba’s strategy; 2008)
International suicide prevention strategies
A Call to Prevent: Youth Suicide in Oregon describes the State of Oregon’s (U.S.) plan for youth suicide prevention.
The European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) is an international network of experts working towards the prevention of suicide. The EAAD website includes a 4-level approach to suicide prevention, their framework, information on evaluating outcomes, and other resources.
The New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy provides their framework for suicide prevention efforts taking place over a 10-year period from 2006 to 2016.
Evidence-based practice registries
The Best Practices Registry (BPR), developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, identifies, reviews and disseminates information about best practices that address specific objectives of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention in the U.S.
The Canadian Best Practices Portal, developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, provides a searchable list of chronic disease prevention and health promotion interventions.
Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s (CMHO) website provides a list of evidence-based tools and interventions.
The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) is an online registry of substance abuse and mental health interventions, developed to help the public learn more about evidence-based interventions that are available for implementation.
Guidelines for risk-management
The American Psychiatric Association provides practice guidelines for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behaviours.
A Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Suicidal Behaviour provides a review of the literature pertaining to the epidemiology, causes, management and prevention of suicide and suicidal behavior in youth. It also includes guidelines for the assessment and management of youth with suicidal behaviour.
GLAD-PC (Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care) provides much needed information, recommendations, educational resources and tools to aid health care providers in the management of adolescent depression in primary care.
Helping Children and Youth who are feeling suicidal – Information for parents and caregivers offers guidelines on how to take action when parents are faced with a child’s suicidal crisis.
Tools and resources
The HEADS-ED (Home, Education, Activities and peers, Drugs and alcohol, Suicidality, Emotions/behaviours/thought disturbance, Discharge resources) is a validated tool that enables physicians to take a psychosocial history to help in decisions regarding a patient. It’s intended to make it easy for physicians to identify children/youth with mental health issues and find local resources.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) in British Columbia provides a list of practical tools for conducting quality risk assessments, including the following:
- Policy and Practice Considerations: Clinical Assessment of Suicide Risk and Clinical Documentation is a guidebook for conducting risk assessments.
- Preventing Youth Suicide: A Guide for Practitioners includes a list of resources on effective approaches for assessing and treating suicidal individuals. It also provides considerations for judging the quality of a particular assessment framework, assessing level of risk, treatment planning and documentation.
The Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario’s website provides guidelines for a suicide and crisis assessment form.
The Suicide Risk Assessment Guide: A Resource for Health Care Organizations was developed by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), in partnership with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI). This tool is meant to be a general guide to help health care organizations understand and standardize the practice of suicide risk assessment. It also includes an inventory of reviewed tools and guidelines for evaluating the quality of risk assessment tools.
TeenMentalHealth.org includes a host of clinically useful tools and resources on risk-management.
Coming together to care: A suicide prevention and postvention toolkit for Texas communities was developed as a practical resource for community leaders to support suicide prevention and postvention activities.
Hope and healing: A practical guide for survivors of suicide is a guide for those who lost someone to suicide. This resource was developed by the Suicide Response Initiative of the Calgary Health Region, with support from the Alberta Mental Health Board, and adapted by the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA) with permission for use in BC.
Supporting Minds: An educator’s guide to promoting student’s mental health and well-being, developed by Ontario's Ministry of Education, includes postvention strategies specific to schools.
Teachers’ Experiences of Working with Students Who Have Attempted Suicide and Returned to the Classroom explores teachers’ views on what they need to be able to effectively help students feel connected, valued and safe, when a student attempts suicide and then returns to the classroom.
The Riverside Trauma Center Postvention Guidelines, developed by the Riverside Trauma Center, provides organizational postvention guidelines.
What emergency responders need to know about suicide loss: A suicide postvention handbook is intended as a guide to emergency personnel (specifically police officers, emergency medical technicians and crisis intervention specialists) when responding to a death by suicide.
Policies and protocols
A Resource Aid: Responding to Crisis at a School, developed by the UCLA School Mental Health Project, provides guidelines for responding to crises in a school setting.
Framework for Developing Institutional Protocols for the Acutely Distressed or Suicidal College Student, developed by the JED Foundation, discusses issues to consider when developing a safety protocol, developing an emergency contact notification protocol and developing a leave of absence and re-entry protocol for colleges and universities.
Policies and protocols addressing the needs of youth who have attempted or are considering suicide, developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre (SPRC), provides recommendations for developing protocols designed to meet the immediate needs of adolescents and young adults who have expressed suicidal plans or have attempted suicide. The document also guides youth-serving organizations in the development and implementation of a suicide prevention or postvention protocol.
Principles for developing organizational policies and protocols for responding to clients at risk of suicide and self-harm, developed by the Queensland Governmental Department of Communities, suggests a process and key considerations for the development of organizational policies and protocols in suicide prevention, risk management and postvention.
Mental health continuum
Healthy Child Manitoba, is a program of the province of Manitoba which developed a continuum of supports and strategies for children, youth and families, broken down based on age groups.
We’ve got growing up to do: Transitioning youth from child and adolescent mental health services to adult mental health services is a policy paper for decision-makers that was released by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health.
Social determinants of health
Closing the gap in a generation : Health equity through action on the social determinants of health is a report by the World Health Organization that includes the latest evidence on inequalities with respect to social determinants of health around the world. The report also includes an action plan developed by the Commission on Social Determinants of Health which aims to address these inequalities.
Linking poverty and mental health: A lifespan view, a policy paper for decision-makers, was released by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health to address the association between poverty, family and area characteristics, and child and youth mental health.
Social determinants of health and well-being among young people was released by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe to explore the social context, physical and mental health, health behaviours and risk behaviours in school-aged children.
Using Population Health Data to Profile the Health and Well-Being of Children and Youth in Eastern Ontario was developed by the Child and Youth Health Network for Eastern Ontario to help agencies use a population health approach for planning services for children and youth.
Bullying and cyberbullying
Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet) provides information about bullying prevention and intervention.
The Registry of Resources for Safe and Inclusive Schools was developed by the Ontario Ministry of Education to identify a variety of local and province-wide bullying prevention and intervention programs.
Care for the caregiver
The ProQOL (Professional Quality of Life) scale is the most commonly-used measure of the negative and positive results of helping others who experience suffering and trauma. The ProQOL has sub-scales for compassion satisfaction, burnout and compassion fatigue.
When Compassion Hurts: Burnout, Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Trauma in Prenatal and Early Childhood Service Providers explores the signs and symptoms of burnout, vicarious trauma and secondary trauma. While this resource was designed for use with prenatal and early childhood service providers, it offers self-care tools and reflective practices that may be useful to individuals in a caregiving role.
Secondary traumatic stress: A fact sheet for child serving professionals explores secondary traumatic stress or the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the first-hand trauma experiences of another. This resource outlines strategies for preventing and intervening, as well as techniques for developing resiliency.
Supporting practitioners after a client suicide or experience of trauma examines how the suicide of a client can lead to guilt, sadness, depression, demoralization, anger, shock, denial, grief, professional insecurity and changes to work practices and social lives. This brief report identifies that all mental health workers should be prepared and have supports available in the event of a client suicide.
Working with the media
How to Share your Story Safely by Creating Boundaries was created for youth by the New York State Foster Care Youth Leadership Advisory Team as part of its Youth in Progress series.
Mindset: Reporting on Mental Health was created as a field guide for journalists by the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma.
Suicide and Mental Illness in the Media was created for the media by the Australian Government’s Mindframe National Media Initiative. In addition to this reference book, they also created quick reference cards on issues to consider when working with the media.
Mobilize your community
Communities That Care (CTC) is a community prevention action model that uses a public health approach to prevent problem behaviors in youth, such as violence, delinquency, school dropout and substance abuse.
The Community Capacity Building and Mobilization in Youth Mental Health Promotion resource discusses how the community of West Carleton in Ontario mobilized around the issue of youth suicide in response to a local crisis.
The Community Toolbox has chapters with tools and resources that can be used to conduct community assessments.
Preventing Youth Suicide: A Guide for Practitioners provides a framework for a comprehensive and community-based youth suicide prevention strategy.
The Suicide Prevention Toolkit, developed by the Oklahoma Youth Suicide Prevention Council, offers an assessment tool intended for use by youth suicide prevention coalitions or organizations.
The Community Development Handbook: A Tool to Build Community Capacity contains valuable information on assessing community readiness and provides information, tools and tips for carrying out community-based initiatives using a community development perspective.
Creating and Maintaining Partnerships – section 1 of the Community Toolbox offers guidance on how to build strong coalitions to address a common goal.
The Suicide Prevention Toolkit, developed by the Oklahoma Youth Suicide Prevention Council, includes a worksheet for identifying collaborative partners in your community, which brings into focus the importance of collaborating with youth themselves.
Working Together: Collaborative Practices and Partnership Toolkit is a guide developed by Alberta’s Ministry of Education that explores collaborative practices and partnerships in schools.
First Nation, Inuit and Métis youth
Aboriginal youth suicide prevention: A post-colonial community-based approach explores youth suicide as a community crisis resulting from colonization and considers its impact on Aboriginal youth.
The Assessment and Planning Tool Kit for Suicide Prevention in First Nations Communities was created by the National Aboriginal Health Organization.
A systematic review of suicide prevention interventions targeting indigenous peoples in Australia, United States, Canada and New Zealand is an article that explores suicide prevention strategies in aboriginal communities of Australia, the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand.
The Centre for Suicide Prevention website houses resources geared toward First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities, including:
Preventing Suicide in Children and Youth is a publication from the Children’s Health Policy Centre at Simon Fraser University. It explores cultural continuity and the importance of preserving and promoting cultural heritage as a means of protecting Aboriginal youth from suicide.
Rebuilding our community: Hearing silenced voices on Aboriginal youth suicide is the result of three researchers holding focus groups with adult Aboriginal First Nations community members to talk about the problem of youth suicide on their reserve. You can also listen to an accompanying podcast.
Suicide Among Aboriginal People in Canada is a research document released by the The Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
Racialized and newcomer youth
Canadian Issues/Thèmes Canadiens is a bilingual manual that includes a compilation of different works addressing the mental health of immigrants.
Determinants of Mental Health for Newcomer Youth: Policy and Service Implications captures the findings and reflections from The Newcomer Youth Mental Health Project, which studied post-migration determinants of mental health for newcomer youth in Toronto.
Improving mental health services for immigrant, refugee, ethno-cultural and racialized groups: Issues and options for service improvement outlines issues to consider when embarking on strategies to improve mental health services for newcomer and racialized groups.
Newcomer Settlement Guide for Service Providers is the product of The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. It aims to enhance settlement services for immigrant and refugee youth in Ontario.
Racial Profiling and Systemic Discrimination of Racialized Youth: Report of the Consultation on Racial Profiling and its Consequences compiles testimonies on the issues faced by Québec’s racialized youth.
To Build on Hope: Overcoming the Challenges Facing Newcomer Youth at Risk in Ontario explores challenges faced by immigrant youth in Ontario and recommends ways to assist youth in achieving settlement and integration success in Canada.
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust is a leader in youth suicide prevention, and provides Canada’s LGBTQ community with resources.
Gay & Suicidal: Sexual and Gender Minorities and Suicide is a resource toolkit for LGBTQ youth created by The Centre for Suicide Prevention.
The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity is a national youth-led diversity initiative working to eliminate bullying, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination in schools and youth communities.
Report on Outcomes and Recommendations captures 20 practice recommendations from the first ever LGBTQ Youth Suicide Prevention Summit held in 2012 in Canada.
RHO Fact Sheet: LGBT Youth Suicide was developed by Rainbow Health Ontario and contains facts on LGBTQ suicide.
No Longer Alone: A Resource Manual for Rural Sexual Minority Youth and the Adults Who Serve Them provides guidance to rural social service providers who are designing, implementing and managing services for rural sexual minority students.
Youth and family engagement
The Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement (CEYE) brings together the expertise of youth, youth service providers, academic researchers and policy makers to identify, build and implement models of effective practice for meaningfully engaging youth and to document the results.
Wisdom2Action (W2A) is a national knowledge mobilization (KMb) initiative funded by the Government of Canada through the Network of Centres of Excellence Knowledge Mobilization Initiative (NCE-KM). We support researchers, community based organizations, educators, policy makers, and others working to improve the mental health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and youth.
mindyourmind is an award-winning, non-profit mental health program that engages youth, emerging adults and the professionals who serve them to co-develop reliable and relevant resources.
The Jack Project is a charitable organization that aims to open up the conversation about mental health by engaging youth in the development and delivery mental health promotion initiatives.
The New Mentality is a network of youth-facilitated groups from across Ontario who collaborate with partner agencies to reduce the stigma around mental health in their communities.
Your Life Counts includes information and resources related to suicide prevention for youth and their families.
YouthNet Ottawa is a for youth, by youth, mental health promotion and intervention program that offers alternative support services for youth.
Youth Social Infrastructure Collaborative is a network and community of practice supporting a strong, resilient and equitable youth organizing field in Ontario.
FamilySmart is a compilation of family-friendly resources on child and youth mental health developed by the Institute of Families, an independent, not-for-profit organization that works to improve child and youth mental health in Canada.
Parents for Children's Mental Health (PCMH) is a non-profit organization that helps families of children and youth who face mental health challenges by providing them with the information they need to support their children. For support groups and peer-to-peer assistance, look for the PCMH chapter closest to you.
The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health is a national, family-run organization that links chapters and organizations focused on the issues of children and youth with emotional, behavioral or mental health needs and their families.
Bereaved Families of Ontario facilitates different peer support services for youth and young adults aged 12–24 who are grieving the death of a loved one to homicide, suicide or natural causes.
The Family-to-Family Programs hosted by National Alliance on Mental Illness (Ontario branch) seek to improve the lives of families affected by mental illness through courses and supports groups that have been designed by an experienced family member.
The Family Navigation Project at SunnyBrook is a program developed by families for families to empower families in helping them navigate the mental health system more effectively and efficiently.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada offers a series of relevant resources on peer support.
The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO) facilitates peer support groups across Ontario.
Make a plan
A Framework for Suicide Prevention Planning in Manitoba was created by a provincial committee to guide the development of plans to address suicide in Manitoba, which informed Manitoba’s youth suicide prevention strategy. The five components of the framework address specific goals, objectives and examples of practical activities and resources from various jurisdictions that have been identified in the prevention literature or shared by communities.
Community Capacity Building and Mobilization in Youth Mental Health Promotion: The Story of the Community of West Carleton is the story of a community that mobilized around youth suicide after experiencing the devastating loss of four youth over a period of several months.
Developing an action plan – section 5 of the Community Toolbox explores what should be included in an action plan, the criteria for a good action plan, when and why an action plan should be developed, and how to write an action plan.
Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Toolkit includes information about youth suicide prevention strategies and includes worksheets for conducting a community assessment and making an action plan.
Organizing a Community Response to Suicide – Success Factors and Lessons Learned is a planning process tool used by a network of concerned agencies, organizations and individuals that came together in response to a youth suicide crisis in Palo Alto, California. This guide outlines Project Safety Net’s planning process as well as their strengths and challenges, and offers a number of recommendations for communities facing similar challenges.
Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention Initiative for BC – Framework and Planning Template is an evidence-informed framework and planning template that provides guidance on how current suicide prevention, intervention and postvention supports, services and programs can be developed, improved, implemented or evaluated in priority areas.
The Community Readiness Model was originally developed at the Tri-Ethnic Center of Prevention Research at Colorado State University to address alcohol and drug abuse prevention efforts. This model can help you assess the level of readiness of a community to develop and implement prevention and/or intervention efforts.
Assessing Community Needs and Resources – section 2 of the Community Toolbox offers guidance on how to assess a community’s priority needs, goals and concerns.
Community mental health needs assessment is a report released by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health that has information on conducting community needs assessments.
Priority Setting – Four Methods for Getting to What’s Important! was a number released as part of the Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin. It describes four simple techniques to help with strategic decision-making.
The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health has several implementation resources housed on the resource hub. In particular, you’ll find:
- Implementing evidence-informed practice: A practical toolkit, which contains real-world insight, strategies and resources on implementation.
Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature is a paper that discusses implementation in a community context. It addresses some important aspects of implementation in a community (e.g. mobilizing support and local champions, community participation in decision making, etc.) and discusses a measure for assessing community.
The Active Implementation Hub offers tools and resources for actively implementing a program or practice. For example, the Hexagon tool uses six factors (need, fit, resource availability, evidence readiness for replication and capacity to implement) to evaluate new and existing interventions and may assist communities in systematically identifying the right evidence-informed practice to implement.
Evaluate your efforts
The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health has a number of evaluation resources within the resource hub. In particular, you’ll find:
- A Program evaluation toolkit that contains tools and templates for planning, doing and using evaluation, including a template and support for developing a logic model.
- The measures database, a growing online directory that profiles measures related to child and youth mental health and program evaluation.
Approaches to Measuring: Community Change Indicators from the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement provides information on community-level indicators for poverty.
A User’s Guide to Advocacy Evaluation Planning was developed by The Harvard Family Research Project and guides users through four basic steps of advocacy evaluation planning: focusing, mapping, prioritizing and designing.
Evaluating the initiative – section 12 of the Community Toolbox provides information on evaluating community programs and initiatives.
The Innoweave Developmental Evaluation self-assessment tool can help you determine your community’s readiness and capacity to use a developmental evaluation approach.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Centre (SPRC) houses several materials on evaluating community-based suicide prevention programs, including toolkits, practical advice and educational resources.
Allen, J., Mohatt, G., Fok, C. C. T., Henry, D., & People Awakening Team. (2010). Suicide prevention as a community development process: Understanding circumpolar youth suicide prevention through community level outcomes. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 68, 274-297.
Bean, G., & Baber, K. M. (2011). Connect: An effective community-based youth suicide prevention program. Suicide and life-threatening behavior, 41, 87-97.
Cousins, J. B., & Chouinard, J. A. (2007). Evaluation Framework: National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (NAYSPS). University of Ottawa. Retrieved from: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.457.1983
Griffith, D. M., Allen, J. O., Zimmerman, M. A., Morrel-Samuels, S., Reischl, T. M., Cohen, S. E., & Campbell, K. A. (2008). Organizational empowerment in community mobilization to address youth violence. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 34, S89-S99.
Grunbaum, J. A., Kann, L., Kinchen, S. A., Williams, B., Ross, J. G, Lowry, R., & Kolbe, L. (2002). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2001. Journal of School Health, 72, 1–64.
Joshi, P., Damstrom-Albach, D., Ross, I., & Hummel, C. (2009). Strengthening the Safety Net: A Report on the Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention Initiative for BC. Suicide PIP Initiative BC. Accessed from: https://suicidepipinitiative.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/logic-model.pdf.
Keep it up
The sustainability self-assessment tool, developed by the Education Development Center, covers the key ingredients to sustainability and should be considered early on in your community planning.
Sustaining Change: What Does the Evidence Say About Sustainability?, developed by the Evidence Exchange Network at CAMH, summarizes the evidence on sustainability of newly implemented practices or programs.
Sustaining the work or initiative – section 16 of The Community Tool Box provides information on planning for using different tactics to sustain your organization or community initiative.