Executive Council
Health and Community Services

January 22, 2018

Newfoundland and Labrador Becomes First Province in Canada to Advance National Suicide Prevention Project

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has partnered with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Eastern Health and a community coalition on the Burin Peninsula to launch Roots of Hope, a community suicide prevention project.

Newfoundland and Labrador is the first province in Canada to sign onto this project. The project will draw heavily on community expertise and guidance from mental health experts in the province, as well as from across the country. The goal of Roots of Hope is to reduce the impacts of suicide. It will bring new mental health services and supports to people in the Burin Peninsula region.

There are five primary focus areas for the project:

  • Specialized supports – a range of prevention, crisis, and postvention services such as crisis lines and support groups;
  • Training and networks – access to training and learning opportunities to better equip professionals in the community such as physicians, first responders, nurses, human resource staff and teachers;
  • Public awareness – local information campaigns to promote mental health awareness;
  • Means restriction – identify the methods or places where a high number of suicides occur and implement measures to restrict access to these methods; and,
  • Research – increase the suicide prevention evidence base.

Beginning immediately, the project will roll-out over the next five years with the Provincial Government contributing $1.98 million. The Mental Health Commission of Canada will develop evidence-based recommendations on sustainable community suicide prevention and build tools and resources to support those recommendations. These will be shared with all provinces and territories.

The Roots of Hope initiative aligns with Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador, while building on measures already in place on the Burin Peninsula for residents and their families. These measures include increased mental health training for health care professionals and single session walk-in clinics in the communities of Grand Bank and Marystown.

In The Way Forward: A Vision for Sustainability and Growth in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Government committed to transform the way mental health and addictions services are delivered. This will involve enhancing access to community-based services and improving access to services, when and where they are required across the province.

Quotes
“Newfoundland and Labrador is leading the country with its participation in the national initiative Roots of Hope. People and families in communities across our province, especially here on the Burin Peninsula, have in recent times been devastated by suicide. We must take action to have the proper supports and services in place for those with mental health challenges. This project is a step forward to help ensure people in this region get the support they need.”
Honourable Dwight Ball
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“It is the stigma surrounding suicide that keeps people from seeking help. Everyone has a role to play in removing that stigma and this is why we must keep talking about it. I am pleased with the level of partnership on this Roots of Hope national initiative. I especially want to thank the municipalities in this region for showing such compassion and commitment in the face of such tragedy. Your efforts will help people and build stronger communities.”
Honourable John Haggie
Minister of Health and Community Services

“Too many families on the Burin Peninsula have been devastated by the death of a loved one as a result of suicide. However, with today’s announcement there is finally reason for optimism that we can help those facing crises in their lives. With our province joining the national Roots of Hope initiative, we are committed to providing the resources needed to deal more directly with mental health issues, and most importantly, to work towards suicide prevention. As a society, we must do all in our power to save families from the tragedy that comes when a loved one is lost this way.”
Carol Anne Haley
Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Community Services and MHA for Burin - Grand Bank

“Communities and families – including my own – on the Burin Peninsula have been deeply impacted by the loss of family members and friends as a result of suicide. The Roots of Hope initiative will build on actions the Provincial Government has implemented to support those who need our help and will raise awareness about such an important issue. I sincerely hope this will help those we must help the most.”
Mark Browne
MHA for Placentia West - Bellevue

“As a proud Newfoundlander and Labradorian, I’m delighted that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is the first to sign onto the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s initiative Roots of Hope, a community suicide prevention project. The goal of this project is to understand what works and is sustainable and to develop evidence-based recommendations with accompanying tools and resources. These will be shared with all of Canada’s provinces and territories so everyone may benefit. We welcome national participation on this project in an effort to achieve a Canada-wide effort in suicide prevention.”
Louise Bradley
President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada

“Eastern Health is delighted to partner with the Mental Health Commission of Canada as we continue to address the mental health needs of residents on the Burin Peninsula. The commission’s support will enhance the work of our newly-formed Coalition for Mental Health and Wellness, as together we promote awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health and addictions issues, improve access to services, and increase suicide training and peer supports.”
David Diamond
President and CEO, Eastern Health

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Learn more

Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador www.health.gov.nl.ca/health/mentalhealth/pdf/mentalhealth_addictions_plan.pdf

Report Card: The First Six Months www.health.gov.nl.ca/health/publications/pdf/Progress_Update_Mental_Health_Way_Forward.pdf

Follow us on Twitter: @GovNL and @HCS_GovNL

Media contacts
Michelle Cannizzaro
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960
MichelleCannizzaro@gov.nl.ca

Emily Timmins
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 693-1292
emilytimmins@gov.nl.ca

Hélène Côté
Mental Health Commission of Canada
613-683-3755, 857-0840
hcote@mentalhealthcommission.ca

Tracey Boland
Eastern Health
709-777-1412
TraceyL.Boland@easternhealth.ca 

Eric George
Constituency Assistant to
Carol Anne Haley, MHA for Burin - Grand Bank
709-832-2530
EricGeorge@gov.nl.ca

Tara Planke
Constituency Assistant to
Mark Browne, MHA for Placentia West - Bellevue
709-279-2912
taraplanke@gov.nl.ca

2018 01 22                             11:50 a.m.