I love the title of the 2013 Annual National Conference of the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association.

Welcome to all of the delegates and the Board of Directors who are attending the conference. My talk today will be about ACTION. What can Nursing Students and Nurses do about preventing suicide and breaking the stigma that surrounds suicide and mental health.

I will talk about the importance and power of creating a proactive dialogue on suicide to get rid of the stigma that surrounds it. I will share with you images and stories of those who have lost loved ones and friends to suicide. I’ll share stories that will make you cry out of sadness and stories that will empower you with knowledge that suicide can be prevented, when we reach out and care. You will hear me talk about SafeTALK and why I passionately believe it ought to be a part of first year Nursing Curriculum at every University and College across Canada. SafeTALK is a three hour workshop that teaches us how to identify people with thoughts of suicide, keep them safe and link them with community (or campus) based resources. SafeTALK is to suicide what CPR is to heart attacks. And like CPR, anyone can save lives with SafeTALK.

“I’m a Nursing Student and I want SafeTALK made part of my Nursing curriculum, how do I do it?” Please contact Heather Stokes, Vice President of LivingWorks. She’s expecting your calls.
Heather Stokes, Vice President & Business Development
Living Works Education
(406) 493-1694

As well as education, I’ll be talking about awareness, fundraising and the importance of creating a suicide safer campus community. Engagement through fundraising is critical for awareness, just like it is with cancer, diabetes or heart disease. A campus based campaign has been created at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay) where the goal is $1 from every student for suicide prevention through the Collateral Damage Project. If you want to learn more and to do this on your campus, contact Matt Quirion to learn more, Matthieu Quirion,

I look forward to your comments. Let me know what you think of; suicide prevention training for nursing students, SafeTALK or my keynote address. If you want to get involved in the work that we do, send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

3 thoughts on “Canadian Nursing Students’ Association

  1. To create a suicide-safer Country, we need to start talking about suicide; we need to bring it out of the shadows and discuss it openly and directly. This is what the Collateral Damage Project does; it creates a dialogue on suicide and puts faces to the too-often-ignored topic of suicide loss. Thank you Scott, for your passion and dedication to creating campuses and communities that are safer from suicide.

    I encourage each and every person reading Scott’s blog to learn more about safeTALK – learn more about suicide prevention and postvention. Ask the hard questions; What do I need to learn, to feel comfortable asking someone about suicide? Why aren’t the staff in my work place trained in suicide alertness? Why isn’t safeTALK a part of my Nursing curriculum? The fact of the matter is that we can all play a role in making our communities suicide-safer.

    To repeat Scott’s statement, please contact Heather Stokes, Vice President of LivingWorks Education for more information on making suicide alertness training part of your school’s curriculum. Get the ball rolling. Start the conversation.

    Katelyn Bessette
    Program Coordinator, safeTALK Trainer
    Communities Addressing Suicide Together
    Canadian Mental Health Association Nova Scotia Division
    (902) 466 6600

  2. Hi Scott,
    I recently attended your keynote address at the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association National Conference in Halifax, NS. I (and I can promise many other students as well) was extremely moved by your presentation. You have inspired me to want to stand up & do something about suicide prevention.
    I have contacted Heather in hopes of receiving more information about safeTALK training (pricing, size of groups, etc.). We are hoping to be able to implement this training into our nursing program at StFX. If this is successful in our program, we’d also love to see it implemented in other areas of our campus including the education faculty, peer mentoring programs, and residence staff. We would also be ecstatic to see this program offered at local high schools. It would also be my hope that teachers would participate in training as well, in order to be able to recognize signs of suicidal thoughts among students. We want as many people as possible to be able to take action against suicide prevention. Even if one life is saved, this mission will have been a success.
    Thanks again for inspiring so many nursing students across Canada to become active in suicide prevention. Every student in attendance left the room feeling moved, inspired, and wanting to make a difference.

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