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HomeMedia Centre › February 16, 2016 – National, proven solutions for suicide prevention and PTSD presented to federal government; 20% suicide prevention target deemed possible

February 16, 2016 – National, proven solutions for suicide prevention and PTSD presented to federal government; 20% suicide prevention target deemed possible

Ottawa, ON – The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, as part of pre-budget consultations, an MHCC proposal for a national suicide prevention project and a joint MHCC/MDSC plan for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis and treatment. The MHCC is in a prime position to convene the knowledge, resources and people needed to advance work in these critical areas and secure meaningful results for Canadians: saved lives.

“Suicide is all too often the devastating outcome of mental health problems,” said the Honourable Michael Wilson, MHCC Chair. “However, it’s an outcome that we can and must prevent. To do so, we need a proven suicide prevention plan that uses key community members to recognize, identify and address signs of suicide risk, and then connect individuals to the appropriate help.”

The suicide prevention model is based on proven programs in Québec and Europe, which have shown as much as 20 per cent reductions in their suicide rates. The MHCC’s five-year plan requires an investment of $40 million. It would initially be implemented in 13 communities across Canada, with a focus on acutely at-risk populations including military members and veterans, Indigenous peoples, youth and middle-aged men.

“Initial implementation plans are helpful because suicide prevention initiatives are most effective when targeted to specific groups,” said MHCC President and CEO Louise Bradley. “Mental illness does not discriminate, though. Suicide is an issue that affects any age, gender or cultural background. Sharing knowledge and best practices — especially right where Canadians live, work and play — will help establish a sustainable support and prevention network.

The joint proposal for a far-reaching training program for healthcare providers in Canada was developed by the MHCC and the MDSC. Its aim is to help in the early diagnosis and treatment of PTSD and requires an investment of $5 million over five years — a low-cost, yet highly effective solution and expansion of existing complementary programs. Although 85 per cent of first responders and veterans seek help for mental illness from their primary care provider, more than half walk away without effective solutions. Canada’s 80,000 physicians and 360,000 nurses are an excellent existing resource to recognize PTSD early enough for effective treatment.

“Regardless of how people living with PTSD experienced trauma, common among them all is the lack of diagnosis,” said MDSC National Executive Director Phil Upshall. “Early intervention is crucial to providing effective treatment. Equipping direct care providers, such as physicians and nurses, the tools they need to properly identify PTSD and initiate treatment will help secure that early intervention.”

Read the complete pre-budget submission to the Standing Committee on Finance.


Guided by Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is a catalyst for improving the mental health system and changing the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians around mental health – at home, work, and school, as well as with the media and healthcare providers – from coast to coast to coast. Through its unique mandate from Health Canada, the Commission is Canada’s coordinating agent, bringing together the best and most influential minds in the mental health community. The MHCC is collaborating with hundreds of partners towards a mental health system that is inclusive, adaptable, and supports Canadians living with mental health problems and mental illnesses in their recovery journey. Together we accelerate change needed to transform Canada’s mental health system and the wellbeing of all.
www.mentalhealthcommission.ca | strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca

The Mood Disorders Society of Canada
The Mood Disorders Society of Canada was launched in 2001 to provide people with mood disorders,
their families and caregivers a strong, cohesive voice at the national level on issues relating to mental
health and mental illness. With particular regard to depression, bipolar disorder and other associated
mood disorders, MDSC aims to improve access to treatment, inform research, shape program
development and government policy to improve the quality of life for people affected by mood

Media Contact:
Kate Headley, Manager of Marketing and Communications
Mental Health Commission of Canada
Office: 613.683.3948
Mobile: 613.315.6556


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The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change, an organization designed to recommend improvements to the mental health system on a national level. We are not directly involved in individual cases of advocacy, outreach, service delivery or local supports.