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Opinion

Canada needs to bring accountability to suicide prevention

By Ian Colman and Benjamin Leikin       

A national suicide prevention strategy, like those implemented in countries around the world, could go a long way in preventing the 4,000 deaths by suicide every year in Canada. Quebec's provincial strategy nearly halved the province's suicide rate.

In 2019, the House voted unanimously in favour of NDP MP Charlie Angus’ private member motion, M-174, for a national suicide prevention action plan that includes a robust list of evidence-based initiatives. The plan has not yet been developed nor implemented, write Ian Colman and Benjamin Leikin. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Approximately 4,000 Canadians die by suicide every year. From age 10 to 34, suicide is consistently the second leading cause of death in Canada behind accidental death. Some of our northern communities have suicide rates that are among the highest in the world. While the suicide rate in Canada has remained relatively stable over the last 50 years, there are worrying indications that an increase may be coming. Recent research from Ontario showed that the number of adolescents arriving in the emergency department as a result of self-harm more than doubled from 2009 to 2017, an alarming trend that has been observed in different jurisdictions across Canada.

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