In Estimates on Monday April 16th, I asked the Minsiter of Health about his approach to the prevention of suicides. The text from Hansard is below:
Mr. Gerrard: I had asked the other day about the minister's approach to suicides, which we have a relatively high rate compared to other provinces. Does the minister–is the minister developing an adequate suicide program–prevention program and response program to those who are suicidal?
Mr. Goertzen: Right.
So, in response to the member's questions of last week, as it relates to the comments by Dr. James Bolton, the medical director of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Crisis Response Centre–the CRC–note that this response was taken out of contest–context, I understand.
A student, I understand, was asked to speak with Dr. Bolton for a project on population trends of suicide and did not disclose that her work was to be published. We've gone back to Dr. Bolton–or the department officials, I should say, and asked him to clarify his comments for the record.
He noted there is a large amount of literature indicating that suicide treatment should entail suicide-specific psychotherapy which was limited at the time of the interview. However since that time, the WRHA has started suicide-specific treatment at CRC including psychotherapy that targets suicidal thoughts and actions of the individual.
It's important to note that the CRC takes suicidality seriously. Current practice at CRC was and is to assess individuals for risk of suicide upon presentation. Those at urgent risk are hospitalized at the time of this article, and currently there are several treatment programs that help suicidal people by treating mental disorders and other risk factors. Examples include dialectical behaviour therapy–DBT–and cognitive behavioural therapy–CBT–as well as day-hospital and several other mental health programs.
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