By: Effie Pow
A high rate of suicide among Canadian veterans has been a distressing, decades-long reality. The 2019 Veteran Suicide Mortality Study revealed that the risk of suicide for veterans has remained consistently higher than that of the general public over a 39-year period, with the risk being 1.4 times higher for male and 1.9 times higher for female veterans.
With the support of Veterans Affairs Canada, the Crisis Centre of BC is contributing to the network of care available to veterans. The $60,000 grant from the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund will go towards the Crisis Care Continuum for Veterans project that will deliver suicide awareness and prevention training for veterans and those who support them in their communities. The Crisis Centre is one of five BC projects that will be funded.
Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, made the funding announcement on August 10, 2023 at the Legion Veterans Village in Surrey with Surrey-Centre MP Randeep Sarai.
“Caring for our mental health is crucial, and I am pleased to support the impactful projects these devoted groups are undertaking here in British Columbia through the Veteran and Family Well-being Fund,” said Taylor in the Veterans Affairs Canada news release. “Veterans and first responders have unique needs and that means we need to work together in providing care, treating PTSD, mental health problems and other medical needs.”
Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence (left); Stacy Ashton, executive director of Crisis Centre of BC (centre); and Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament for Surrey-Centre.
The Crisis Centre will collaborate with the Royal Canadian Legion/BC Yukon Command and other community partners to ensure staff and volunteers are trained, including the 125 veteran Branch Service Offers who assist veterans at Legion branches. Training peers increases skills and provides intergenerational learning to serve diverse veteran populations better. Convening community members and partners through training will help to improve the continuum of mental health crisis care for veterans.
“We know that veterans are at risk and we are pleased to provide a variety of opportunities for those supporting veterans to gain additional skills and tools to care for the community,” said Lu Ripley, Director of Community Learning and Engagement.
The training will include:
- Skillfully Responding to Distress, online training in de-escalation;
- Customized online suicide response training for those who are unable to attend in person
- safeTALK, a half-day training in being suicide alert
- Advanced skills offered in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), a two-day certified evidenced-based training, is planned for those directly supporting veterans in their roles.
As well, to build wellness and resilience, community members and service providers will have access to the Crisis Centre’s on-demand wellness modules.
Thank you to Veterans Affairs Canada for the project grant to support suicide awareness and prevention training for veterans and their families.
Visit our website to learn more and register for our training programs and workshops.
The Crisis Centre of BC is committed to supporting people during times of crisis. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please reach out:
- Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789 (no area code required)
- Anywhere in BC 1800SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433