Youth suicide: Will we let the second leading cause of death become the first?

Report from Ontario Psychiatrists calls for leadership on youth suicide prevention

TORONTO, Sept 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Suicide is the leading cause of death among Canadians age 15 to 34, after car accidents, says an alarming new report from Ontario Psychiatrists. But unlike car accidents, the report identifies that the number of suicides across Canada has remained unchanged for more than four decades, with 70 per cent of mental health issues starting in childhood and suicide accounting for 24 per cent of all deaths among young people.  Ontario Psychiatrists are calling for immediate action, releasing a new report that makes strong recommendations and calls on government to mend system gaps and reduce the risk of suicide among Canadian youth.

"Despite being the second leading cause of death among young people, youth suicide has been pushed to the margins of health care and society," says Dr. Ian Dawe, Program Chief and Medical Director, Mental Health at Trillium Health Partners, and spokesperson for the report.  "Heroic efforts inside and outside our health care system are made every day to prevent the number of deaths by suicide from rising but if we tackled suicide prevention like we do cancer, we could do much better."

The report Stemming the Tide: Strengthening youth suicide prevention in Ontario and in Canada, was developed by Ontario Psychiatrists with input from Ontario policy analysts, national mental health organizations, clinicians, researchers as well as psychiatrists and individuals with lived experience with suicide. Outlining the current state of mental health and youth suicide the report points to system gaps and funding issues as areas in need of improvement.

Ontario Psychiatrists identify the need for greater leadership on the issue and list seven challenges and recommendations to address the problem of youth suicide:

  1. Invest in better mental health support for children.
  2. Close the system gaps.
  3. Build better care coordination and service alignment.
  4. Improve the collection and quality of data.
  5. Provide better access to funding.
  6. Provide better support for parents, families, caregivers and communities.
  7. Invest in child and youth mental health research.

"Canadian youth at risk of suicide deserve a system that is ready and able to meet their needs whether they are in crisis, at risk of a crisis or averted a crisis," says Dr. Paul Links, Chair/Chief, Department of Psychiatry for St. Joseph's Health Centre and London Health Sciences Centre, and spokesperson for the report. "We must do better. By implementing the recommendations set out in the report we will improve the delivery of care and reduce the suicide rate among young Canadians."

About the Coalition of Ontario Psychiatrists: The Coalition of Ontario Psychiatrists is a formal partnership of the Ontario Psychiatric Association and the Section on Psychiatry of the Ontario Medical Association and was formed in the late 1990s to facilitate coordination and cooperation between these two organizations. The Coalition represents over 1,900 psychiatrists who provide high quality mental health services for Ontarians.

SOURCE Coalition of Ontario Psychiatrists

For further information: Jessica Stepic, (416) 433-8087,, Santis Health Inc.

Organization Profile

Coalition of Ontario Psychiatrists

More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890