New Community Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Risk Review Protocol

The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario has officially begun implementation of a new Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Risk Review Protocol, with over 25 other community partners.

The development of the protocol is the result of hard work and partnerships between school boards, community mental health agencies, hospitals, crisis teams, and police services, coordinated by the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario. The protocol became official at a signing ceremony held on Tuesday, March 31, with representatives from each partner agency in attendance.

The protocol is a collaborative response for children and youth in crisis, and will assist school boards and community partners to take active, consistent and collaborative steps to link students who pose a risk of suicide to community partners, and to ensure the safety and well-being of all children and youth.

All partners have agreed to develop and support the protocol to prevent suicide and to create suicide safer communities, with the primary goal being the implementation of a caring community response to reduce risk of suicide and implement risk reduction measures. The protocol enforces a proactive community approach which promotes information sharing, advice and support between agencies. The protocol outlines the components of prevention, including education and training, intervention guidelines, and postvention plans. In addition, the protocol outlines an urgent care component, to ensure that the Board can facilitate urgent care access for youth in crisis.

“Through these very important partnerships, students in crisis have access to programs through direct referrals which can be made by the Board,” explained Superintendent of Education, Dr. Donaleen Hawes. “Information can be shared between the school/board and urgent care providers. This piece of the protocol also allows for wraparound support for the student when returning from an urgent care situation.”

Specialized training programs, such as SafeTALK, has been provided to all secondary teachers and staff, and Applied Suicide Interventions Skills Training (ASIST), has been provided to 143 Board and school staff, including SSWs, chaplains, mental health lead teachers, and administrators.

“Giving staff the tools to work with students, make them feel comfortable and asking students the right questions is a significant piece in the response,” noted Dr. Hawes. “In addition, this training allows staff to be able to accurately identify and respond to the risk, as well as help with a student’s return to school.”

Board Chair, Brent Laton, was pleased with the document, and what it means for Board students. “This initiative and community partnership will have a real impact on our students, particularly those in crisis,” noted Mr. Laton. “It is certainly a welcome addition, and another essential facet of the CDSBEO’s larger mental health strategy.”

To learn more about the mental health initiatives of the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, visit


Community partners in attendance at the Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Risk Review Protocol signing ceremony, held in Kemptville at the North Grenville Municipal Centre on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

SPIRR Group Photo