British Columbia

B.C. targets suicide prevention with $3M fund

The B.C. Government will spend $3-million over the next three year training a network of "community gatekeepers" to identify and help those at risk of suicide.

Money will go towards network of 'community gatekeepers' trained in suicide prevention

B.C. Minister of Health announces $3-million in funding for suicide prevention. (CBC)

The B.C. government has announced $3 million for suicide prevention funding with the money targeted at developing a network of "community gatekeepers" who will be trained to recognize friends and family who may be developing early signs of mental illness or contemplating suicide.

"Gatekeepers are not necessarily mental health professionals but those in a role of trust like teachers, coaches and police officers, thosoften in a position to encourage those who need help to reach out," said Health Minister Terry Lake. 

There are an average of 500 suicides in B.C. each year. Nationally the number is 3,500 according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The B.C.division of the CMHA will be training 20,000 gatekeepers across the province by 2018.

"It's a half day workshop and this is just helping abroad based population around "tell, ask, listen and keep safe", said Bev Gutray, CEO of the BC CMHA. 

There is also a two day intensive program that will support people to help them navigate the province's mental health system. 

With files from Richard Zussman

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