In Niagara 45 people die by suicide each year; that is 1 death every 8 days.

Most people with thoughts of suicide either directly or indirectly invite help to stay safe. Therefore, one way to reduce the incidence of suicide is to increase the capacity within our community to recognize and respond to people who have thoughts of suicide.

The Niagara Suicide Prevention Coalition (NSPC) in partnership with Distress Centre Niagara received a $10,000 grant from the Niagara Community Foundation in 2014, to train 500 people from both professional and lay groups in safeTALK. The ultimate goal of this training in Niagara was to improve individuals’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards suicide. SafeTALK is a 3 – hour Living Works suicide awareness training that prepares helpers (i.e. participants) to identify persons with thoughts of suicide, and connect them to suicide first aid resources. By the end of the training, participants are better able to:

  • Identify people who may be having thoughts of suicide
  • Reduce common tendencies to miss, dismiss, or avoid people with thoughts of suicide
  • Apply the TALK steps (Tell, Ask, Listen and Keep safe) to connect a person with thoughts of suicide to a suicide intervention caregiver.

On Sept 2, 2015 the NSPC and Niagara Connects hosted a webinar titled, The Impact of SafeTALK Training on Suicide Prevention and a Culture of Health and Safety in Niagara: Event Recording. Ninety (90) participants from over thirty-five (35) different organizations participated in the webinar! Key results were shared from the Niagara- wide safeTALK evaluation, and the following next steps were highlighted:

  1. To encourage employers to leverage safeTALK training as part of health and safety training in Niagara – incorporate it through the National Standard of Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
  2. To advocate for safeTALK to be promoted as a standard of practice for workplaces, similar to that of CPR and First Aid
  3. To deliver safeTALK training to as many people as possible in Niagara – to support building suicide safer communities
  4. To build a Community of Practice for safeTALK trainers Niagara – to continue to collaborate and share knowledge and experiences with each other

A suicide safer community begins with all of us and SafeTALK training provides life-long, transferable skills to ensure persons with thoughts of suicide are identified and linked to suicide intervention caregivers.   If you are interested in booking safeTALK training for your workplace please contact Lynn at the Distress Centre Niagara (

If you have knowledge, experience, or ideas about how to make Niagara a suicide-safer community, join us at the next meeting of the Niagara Suicide Prevention Coalition (NSPC) on December 2, 2015 from 1:00-4:00. To get further information, or to become an NSPC member, email

Katie Cino,
Health Promoter,
Niagara Region Public Health

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