CANADA: Quebec cuts suicide rates despite lack of a national prevention strategy

June 26, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


At the world conference of the International Association for Suicide Prevention last week, researchers from Quebec shared news of that province’s dramatic success in reducing its suicide rate. Ten years after the province launched a comprehensive suicide prevention plan in 1999, its overall suicide rate had dropped by 45% and has continued to decline more slowly since. The reduction in youth suicide has been even greater. “We’re talking a 50-percent decrease, and the numbers have continued to fall,” said Brian Mishara, a psychology professor at the Université de Québec à Montréal. “Suicide is preventable.” The province’s strategies have included starting a local hotline, establishing suicide prevention centers throughout the province, improving care and follow-up for people who attempt suicide, providing training for youth protection staff, and installing barriers on several bridges and railways. Many hope that Quebec’s success will serve as both a model and an inspiration for Canada to adopt a national suicide prevention strategy.

Spark Extra! The World Health Organization has published a framework for governments to develop national suicide prevention strategies.