Zero Suicide Initiative

*If you are experiencing a mental health and/or addictions crisis in London-Middlesex, you can call Reach Out at 519 433-2023 or toll-free 1-866-933-2023, or please access your local emergency department or call 911. 

St. Joseph’s Health Care London is dedicated to uncompromising quality and safety- for our patients, their families, our staff and physicians. As such, in 2016, we embarked on the leadership of Canada’s first Zero Suicide initiative thanks to funding made possible through St. Joseph's Health Care Foundation.

Zero Suicide is a system-wide, quality improvement initiative that sets a bold goal of reducing suicides and attempted suicides, by wrapping care around the individual so that fewer people fall through gaps in their care journey. In this way, Zero Suicide helps to create safe bridges during transitions in care and has transformed suicide rates within health care systems in the United States and United Kingdom. Learn more about Zero Suicide.

The Zero Suicide framework has been embedded within St. Joseph’s inpatient and outpatient Mental Health Care programs at Parkwood Institute and Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care by:

  • Outlining processes to assess an individual’s suicide risk
  • Helping them to stay safe 
  • Providing evidence-based follow-up and treatment

Patients will develop an individualized coping plan, together with their care provider, to help identify what types of situations might cause stress and to outline healthy behaviours to help the individual cope, as well as who they can connect with when support is needed. It is a plan for wellness, focusing on the positive steps we can all take to keep ourselves healthy – both physically and mentally.

In addition, patients who feel unsafe will work with their care provider to develop a suicide management plan and will receive the extra support needed until they feel safe again. Additional supports may include collaboration amongst health care teams, community mental health and social services and local crisis services.

The Zero Suicide Framework

Zero Suicide operationalizes the core components of safer suicide care as seven elements. Together, the seven elements of safe and effective suicide care make up the Zero Suicide Framework:

  • LEAD: Create a leadership-driven, safety-oriented culture committed to dramatically reducing suicide among people under care. Include suicide attempt and loss survivors in leadership and planning roles.
  • TRAIN: Develop a competent, confident, and caring workforce.
  • IDENTIFY: Systematically identify and assess suicide risk among people receiving care.
  • ENGAGE: Ensure every person has a suicide care management plan, or pathway to care, that is both timely and adequate to meet his or her needs.
  • TREAT: Use effective, evidence-based treatments that directly target suicidality.
  • TRANSITION: Provide continuous contact and support, especially after acute care.
  • IMPROVE: Apply a data-driven quality improvement approach to inform system changes that will lead to improved patient outcomes and better care for those at risk.

Learn more about the Zero Suicide Framework

Community Implementation Toolkit 

We know that community collaboration is at the heart of suicide prevention and as such, St. Joseph's has extended the Zero Suicide initiative into our local community and beyond, offering suicide prevention and management support to our health care partners as well as organizations who are not within the health care sector. 

Our goal is to decrease suicide rates within our region by providing organizations and their staff members with the tools they need to better identify, support and assist those who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide. 

Our Zero Suicide Community Implementation Toolkit, created in collaboration with Niagara Region Public Health, has been designed specifically to support organizations that are not a formal part of the health care sector, by providing them with tools to enhance suicide prevention within their own organizations. The toolkit includes principles of project management and the experiences of two health care organizations who have implemented the Zero Suicide model. 
You can also access the toolkit via Niagara Region Public Health's Website.

There is no cost to access or implement the Zero Suicide Community Implementation Toolkit. The toolkit is free and is available for any organization who wishes to utilize it as a resource. It is our hope that this practical toolkit will be widely used to help expand the potential for suicide prevention across our province.

If you have any questions, would like more information or would like to connect with St. Joseph's about implementing Zero Suicide within your organization, please contact Shauna Graf, Zero Suicide Project Lead for St. Joseph’s.

Additional resources

Check out additional information including a quick reference document with suicide prevention resources for those with lived experience, a video on how to talk to someone who may be at risk and much more. 

View more resources

If you are experiencing a mental health and/or addictions crisis in London-Middlesex, you can call Reach Out at 519 433-2023 or toll-free 1-866-933-2023, or please access your local emergency department or call 911. 

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