Ottawa, ON – Today, Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) gave a statement in the House of Commons calling for a National Strategy on suicide prevention as part of an all party initiative to reduce suicide in Canada. Currently this issue is bravely being championed by former NHLer Luke Richardson and his wife Stephanie in memory of their daughter Daron Richardson who took her own life in November of last year.

National Statistics show that each day ten people commit suicide in Canada, with over 3500 Canadians dying each year. It is the third leading cause of death among 25 to 49 year olds, and the second leading cause of death in the 15 to 24 age group.

“Canada is one of the few industrialized countries that does not have a national suicide prevention strategy, and as Canadians we need to reduce suicide rates. Among us, we have lost children, parents, family members, friends, neighbours, and colleagues. We must end the silence and ease the suffering which requires every person’s participation in order to prevent others from experiencing such tragedy”, stated Masse.

Currently NDP Health Critic Meagan Leslie (Halifax) has a Private Member’s bill in the House addressing this issue—An Act Respecting a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Masse stated, “The consequences of continuing to ignore mental health issues are simply too high.”

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, today we remember the life of a promising young girl, Daron Richardson, who should today be celebrating her 15th birthday with family and friends but instead sadly took her own life this past November. In an effort to increase awareness around the issue of youth mental health and suicide prevention, Daron’s parents, Luke and Stephanie, have shown tremendous courage by marking Daron’s birthday as the first annual ‘Do it for Daron’ fundraising drive which seeks to identify and treat suicidal young people.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds, making it the second leading cause of death for Canadians among young people. My colleague the Member from Halifax’s Private Member’s bill An Act Respecting a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention introduced in the House of Commons is both crucial and timely.

Suicide may be the second leading cause of death among young people, however, many of the problems associated, such as depression, emotional stress and substance abuse are treatable. Often many young people may not be able to identify these problems yet by increasing a dialogue around this crucial issue in children’s early teens, we can hopefully break down the barrier to youth mental health and suicide.

All Parliamentarians should commend the Richardson family on confronting this important issue in the wake of their loss; that is a great gift to our country.