The strategy includes safety improvements to the infrastructure along the railway and an increase in coordination of local mental health supports. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

The strategy includes safety improvements to the infrastructure along the railway and an increase in coordination of local mental health supports. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

West Shore, Sooke communities build suicide prevention strategy

Strategy includes safety improvements to railway infrastructure, increase in mental health supports

  • Mar. 23, 2021 5:00 p.m.

West Shore and Sooke municipal, first responder, education, community, elected and railway infrastructure groups joined forces to build an action plan focused on mental health. The group aims to improve resources by implementing a multi-level suicide prevention plan throughout the region.

“For every person lost to suicide, many more experience thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts. Suicide is a complex issue, and we know that communities have a critical role to play in its prevention by providing support and a safety net to people who are experiencing a suicidal crisis,” said Jonny Morris, Canadian Mental Health Association BC CEO in a news release. “Suicide is a tragedy, but it is not inevitable, and lives can be saved with the appropriate services, supports, and means safety measures in place.”

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The group noted they will use evidence-based strategies, such as the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Roots of Hope Five Pillar Model, and focus on mental health supports, evaluation, suicide prevention training, building awareness, and reducing access to means of suicide.

“Through the actions of the working group, significant and impactful change will be occurring that will make a difference and save lives,” Langford Fire Rescue chief Chris Aubrey said.

“In addition to safety improvements to the infrastructure along the railway, there will be an increase in coordination of local mental health supports to help protect our residents and aid in the prevention of suicides. This is a community care approach that I know will make a difference and is wholeheartedly welcomed by myself and the firefighters who respond to those in crisis.”

A regional suicide prevention leader will be recruited, working with communities to expand safety measures, counselling services and other vital resources.

For virtual mental health supports, go online to www2.gov.bc.ca. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-784-2433. The service is available seven days a week, in up to 140 languages.

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