In response to local NDP candidate Stefan Rumpel’s recent letter regarding suicide prevention, let me begin by stating that there is always more work to be done. Suicide is a serious issue that has impacted so many families. The provincial government believes in taking this issue seriously, and as the local MLA, I do as well – knowing the impact it has had on families right here in Swift Current. Many of us have a personal story that hits close to home for us. It is important to point out that when Mr. Vermette’s bill was first introduced in the fall, the Minister responded at the time that the provincial government was in fact in the process of developing an action plan. We were looking at what other provinces and territories have already done with the goal of taking the best practices of other jurisdictions and also applying solutions that were specific to Saskatchewan. That is what the Pillars of Life model is – a made-in-Saskatchewan suicide prevention strategy. We are investing $1.25 million to support year one actions outlined in this plan which includes improving access to psychiatric consultations for patients accessing emergency rooms in the northwest; further expansion of Mental Health First Aid training across the province as well as other human service sectors and ministries; expanded use and monitoring of suicide protocols; and enhancing research, data, and surveillance to support local suicide prevention efforts with a specific focus on northern youth. It is a first step on a very difficult road that will adapt and change over time.
When Mr. Vermette’s bill came up for a vote in the Legislature, nearly 2 months had already passed since the launch of the Pillars for Life plan – a plan that is being invested in.
Is there an easy solution? No.
As a community and as a province, we all need to work together to provide more supports when it comes to suicide prevention. It will require a collaborative approach of all levels of governments, various institutions, and individuals.
If anyone is in crisis and need someone to talk with, HealthLine 811, Kids Help Phone, and Mobile Crisis lines are available throughout the province.
Everett Hindley, MLA