Suicide Prevention and Intervention

Effective and timely intervention in addressing the mental health needs of offenders is a priority for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). CSC uses a variety of suicide prevention and intervention resources and tools to address offenders' mental health needs.

Overview

CSC's approach to suicide prevention and intervention is in line with its Mental Health Strategy. The approach is centred on research and aims to reduce and prevent suicidal behaviours. The following initiatives are continuously reviewed to remain consistent with current best practices:

  • Staff training and education
  • Information for inmates
  • Screening of inmates
  • Assessment, monitoring, and treatment methods
  • Partnerships

CSC is committed to:

  • evaluating the mental health of all offenders within 24 hours of their arrival
  • offering proper resources and assessments for offenders who are vulnerable to suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • providing appropriate training to staff, including correctional officers, such as suicide and self-injury intervention training, and giving them tools to properly respond to inmate vulnerabilities
  • providing accessible information about suicide prevention to both inmates and CSC employees

Role of CSC employees

  • CSC institutional employees are trained to recognize signs of suicide vulnerability, such as changes in behaviour.
  • Employees are encouraged to get to know offenders so they can spot any change in behaviour.
  • Employees will refer an offender to the proper mental health practitioner.

The Suicide Prevention and Intervention Clinical Framework

CSC is implementing a new clinical framework to better identify, manage and intervene with offenders who have suicide vulnerabilities, while providing a consistent approach to clinical assessment and intervention.

The framework will be used by employees to evaluate and classify offenders based on their needs and vulnerabilities for suicide. This will result in:

  • increased safety in institutions for all individuals, using least restrictive management strategies
  • effective and proactive interventions prior to a crisis
  • support for employees through improved education and learning for CSC health professionals and operational staff
  • individualized intervention plans for inmates identified as having suicide vulnerabilities

Through the framework, CSC will:

  • provide offenders with effective and timely interventions before a crisis occurs as well as interventions during and after incidents
  • provide offenders with the appropriate interventions they need.

Updated December 2018

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