Suicide Prevention, Postvention and Awareness Committee
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services awarded a grant to Windsor-Essex County in 2013-2014. A small committee of 11 interested agencies (in the sectors of youth mental health, adult mental health, education, child welfare, community support services, LGBTQ, health) and school boards came together to begin planning on behalf of our community.
Goals and objectives
In 2014, the Committee focused on three key objectives:
1. Develop an environmental scan of the Windsor-Essex County community
- describe level of need (which we know is significant)
- current prevention activities
- current services and pathways to these services
- gaps in prevention and responses to crisis and follow up services
2. Enhance collaboration
- proposed improvements to pathways and collaborative responses with existing resources
- proposed new services and pathways
- do an environmental scan, write proposals regarding pathways for response and for future services needed
3. Build professional capacity and knowledge
The following list of activities were initiated and completed by the Windsor-Essex Suicide Prevention, Postvention and Awareness Committee in 2014:
- Completed an environmental scan surveying Windsor-Essex County’s existing services, supports and readiness to become involved in a collaborative suicide prevention initiative, including next steps and strategies.
- Identified additional interested community partners.
- Created and distributed 200 laminated double-sided wall charts titled Youth: Suicide Assessment and Community Referral that identified available crisis, urgent and non-urgent services available to youth up to 18 years of age.
- Created and distributed 2800 double-sided laminated wallet resource cards for primary care providers to give to families, youth and other care providers.
- Established a community structure (committee) among a group of key stakeholders to support ongoing sharing of resources and knowledge towards suicide prevention.
- An improved sense of shared commitment across the sectors.
- 40 people certified in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), 25 of these are front line child and youth workers in the Greater Essex County District School Board.
- 60 people certified in safe TALK suicide alertness training.
- Six clinicians attended Dr. Turecki’s presentation on the suicidal brain.
Advantages and challenges
- There is shared keen interest across sectors in preventing youth suicide in Windsor-Essex County.
- In many ways, we already work in collaboration with established protocols which allows us to build on some existing initiatives for a greater, more integrated impact.
- Many of the services in this community have established partnerships that can also make it easier to work together towards shared objectives.
Our existing resources are limited. Our community has worked hard to make the most of the funds made available by MYCS to move our community closer to its preferred reality as it relates to keeping our youth safe.
Wherever possible, build on existing partnerships and initiatives.
The Committee will continue to track and record its activities and measure, where possible, the impact of each. For example, pre- and post-training questionnaires will allow us to measure impact on participants that attend the safeTALK trainings sessions. As well, it is expected that there will be an opportunity to track how frequently the Be Safe App is accessed over time.
One of the tools that has had a very positive response is a Youth Suicide Assessment and Community Referral wall chart that was modelled after one created by the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council.