The province is investing in care for people experiencing mental-health crises.
Care enhanced for people at risk of suicide, facing mental-health crises
Published 11:21 PDT, Fri September 23, 2022
Last Updated: 11:32 PDT, Fri September 23, 2022
People experiencing mental-health challenges, particularly thoughts of suicide and self-harm, will benefit from improved quality of care in mental-health and substance-use treatment settings, such as emergency departments.
The province is investing $2 million to support an initiative that will create provincewide standards and training to improve care in the health-care system for people who may be suicidal.
"When people are in a mental-health crisis, we want them to receive the best possible care," said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. "That's why our government is making system-wide improvements to transform care for those experiencing mental-health crises and suicidal thoughts. We're supporting health-care professionals so that they have the tools they need to provide the best possible care for people and reduce suicide deaths."
The initiative will develop a provincial framework for suicide care based on established international best practices, local clinical knowledge and expertise, as well as the perspectives of people with lived experience. This will ensure care settings throughout British Columbia will have access to care-provider training, standardized intake screening, management strategies, and followup care aimed at reducing suicide deaths. The changes will bring quality improvement to care settings in all health authorities.
"This significant investment demonstrates a commitment to improving quality in care for people in crisis," said Jonathan Morris, chief executive officer of the Canadian Mental Health Association - BC Division (CMHA BC). "Health-care settings like the emergency department offer important opportunities to prevent suicide. CMHA BC is looking forward to continuing our ongoing partnership alongside people with lived experience, health authorities, and the province to transform crisis care for the better."
Each regional health authority will also receive funding to support evidence-based suicide prevention strategies that address unique priorities and gaps in care for people who may be suicidal.
Enhancing mental-health supports is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.'s roadmap for building a comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care for British Columbians.
"I am looking forward to in-depth collaboration with our partners to develop and inform a comprehensive, strategic approach to addressing suicide amongst people of all ages that we serve, and to use evidence and best and promising practices to shape and inform this plan,” said Leslie Bonshor, vice-president of Indigenous health at Vancouver Costal Health (VCH). “We are fortunate to have expertise within VCH to guide our work with Indigenous peoples in addressing suicide, and have experience and knowledge of land-based healing and cultural practices that can help shape and ground programming and interventions. We will bring the best of all modalities together to create a sustainable responsive plan for all, starting with Indigenous youth and in collaboration with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners in the region."
The BC Coroner's Office reports that there were 582 suicide deaths investigated in B.C. in 2021, down from 597 in 2020 and 634 in 2019. International research shows that the time after discharge from psychiatric in-patient care is a period of high risk for suicide.
In Canada, men account for 75 per cent of suicides. In the United Kingdom, post-discharge suicides make up 17 per cent of all patient suicide deaths.