About Us

Suicide Prevention Ottawa (SPO) is comprised of local leaders who have been working together since 1989 to build a community without suicide in Ottawa.

SPO has combined the efforts of The Community Suicide Prevention Network and the Ottawa Suicide Prevention Coalition, two previously separate initiatives that were leading suicide prevention activities in Ottawa. This brings together extensive expertise and leverages resources to allow for a larger impact in preventing suicide in Ottawa.

We use evidence to promote awareness, build capacity, and respond effectively to suicide among people of all ages, across the life span.

Various milestones have marked our progress over the years. Each initiative was made possible by the contributions of a collective of organizations, leaders and experts in Ottawa that included families and people with lived experiences, researchers, service providers, administrators and many more,committed to action in preventing, and collectively responding to suicide deaths.  

Together, since 1989 these players have implemented programs and services such as:

  • Training in ASIST and safeTALK throughout the city: a cornerstone of our suicide prevention efforts in Ottawa.
  • Parents Lifelines of Eastern Ontario (PLEO), a peer support and system navigation service for caregivers whose children are experiencing mental health and/or addiction challenges.
  • The Know what to do guide, a succinct and thorough pamphlet explaining how to respond when concerned that someone is considering suicide.
  • Multiple Facebook Livestream events to support parents to Know What to Do. These parent education sessions to de-mystify the process of caring for a child who has thoughts of suicide or attempts.
  • Sources of Strength, a peer education program that increases individual and school resiliency and promotes help-seeking among youth.
  • Training to members of the media about safe suicide reporting practices
  • A Post Suicide Support Team to help communities begin to heal after a suicide.
  • Leading a process to build internal and collaborative postvention protocols in local organizations

  • Development and dissemination of information resource on supporting community in a safe way after a suicide and how to memorialize in a safe way.

  • Online video series about peer support among youth. Supported the development of an online learning tool to educate youth about how to do peer support.
  • Development and implementation of a yearly knowledge mobilization and awareness raising event for WSPD.

  • Conference to highlight local research about suicide prevention
    Large media presence and up-take
    Developed an infographic that showed the current status of suicide statistics among various groups in Ottawa, Ontario and Canada

Suicide Prevention Ottawa receives funding from the Province of Ontario, the City of Ottawa, the Youth Services Bureau, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

Do you know what to do?

It can be hard to support a youth or child who has thoughts of suicide, or who has taken steps to act on these thoughts. Know that you are not alone. There are resources available to support such as the Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario (PLEO).

In partnership with PLEO, Suicide Prevention Ottawa has created a kit with tools to support families who are faced with this situation.

It contains information and tools from our key partners at CHEO and PLEO.

Download the kit to find out what you can do. 

The ‘Know What to Do’ guide is free and available by calling the Ottawa Public Health information line at 613-580-6744 ext 15414.

Suicide Prevention Ottawa Launch Recommendations

Suicide Prevention Ottawa (SPO) is working towards having a community without suicide. On May 23rd, at the SPO launch we shared our goal to collaborate with individuals and organizations to work as a community to prevent suicide and collectively respond to suicide deaths. 

Our focus at the SPO launch was to further flesh out our goals, outcomes and activities.

We broke into small groups and brainstormed the direction that SPO could take . These are some highlights of our discussions.

  • Deliver training about postvention, media guidelines and memorializing after a death
  • Connect experts in suicide research SPO members and the public, for dialogue and opportunities to bust myths and promote the best research.
  • Coordinate a speaker’s bureau to share information about different aspects of suicide, about SPO, about research, about the work done by SPO etc.
Suicide Prevention Ottawa Co-Chairs and Coordinator from left: Joanne Bezzubetz, President & CEO of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, Co-Chair of SPO, Andrea Poncia, Coordinator SPO, Benjamin Leikin, Supervisor - Mental Health at Ottawa Public Health, Co-Chair SPO
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