CANADA: Social Workers Adopt New National Policy on Suicide Prevention Thanks to Waterloo Students

June 24, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

CBC News

A group of students at the University of Waterloo have successfully lobbied for a policy mandating that all those studying social work in Canada receive training in suicide prevention. The national policy, which was adopted by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education, had its roots in a class project. Natasha Ekelman said that she and four other students were in the midst of an assignment when they realized that “[social work] students aren’t really trained in suicide intervention skills training, but often we’re being put in placements where we encounter individuals who are feeling suicidal and we’re not really trained on how to manage that.” The group successfully campaigned their school to require suicide prevention training for students in the social work program, and then presented their proposal at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Social Work Education, which passed the motion. Said Ekelman, “It all started with a group of students who just wanted to send a clear message and I had no idea that message would go to the national level, which, I’m still in awe.”

Spark Extra!  Learn about a suicide prevention course offered by the Simmons College School of Social Work.