The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health has launched a toolkit called, “Together to Live: A toolkit for addressing youth suicide in your community”. The purpose of this resource is to provide tools and information to assist service providers in mobilizing their communities around youth suicide prevention, risk management and postvention. It also offers an opportunity for community networks or coalitions to share what they are doing to address youth suicide through the Communities in action section. Mental health issues among children and youth are more pervasive than one may think; affecting one in five young people, of which fewer than 25 percent receive treatment. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth, after accidents, accounting for 24 percent of all deaths among Canadians aged 15 to 24.
CMHA branches and other community-based agencies play a role in preventing youth suicide by offering support and services for children and youth with mental health issues, as well as their families. Additionally, CMHA Ontario partnered with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) and the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health to organize five regional youth suicide prevention forums across the province in March 2014. The all-day forums, called Together We Mobilize, were part of the Government of Ontario’s three-year Youth Suicide Prevention Plan to strengthen community initiatives that support young people in crisis.
Overall, the forums were well-attended with a total of 337 participants. The forums facilitated dialogue between the community health sector and individuals with lived experience on youth suicide prevention, risk management and postvention. The participants shared knowledge and resources in order to build upon previous work that has been done in this area. The forums set in motion the impetus for enhancing supports and services for children and youth to increase their resiliency and help them cope in crisis situations.