Tag Archives: WRSPC

Have you been impacted by suicide? Please watch this music video: “Arizona (I miss you most)” by Brian Byrne

So many lives have been impacted by loss due to suicide. In this video Brian Byrne captures a number of real individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide. It’s hard to get through this video without crying. In fact, I haven’t been able to yet. But regardless, it is beautiful, heart felt, and reminds me I am in a community of individuals who have suffered tremendous loss and we are somehow connected through it.

One of those individuals is Tana Nash, the Director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council. You can see her in the video at mark 2:18. I have had the privilege of speaking with Tana at the University of Laurier on two occasions. She is an incredible individual, and I’m so proud to be partnered with her for suicide prevention.

For anyone thinking of suicide, I know it can seem like no one will miss you if you’re gone. They will. Don’t underestimate the impact every life has on another. There is someone out there, someone you might not even realize, who will miss you most. So, stay. Stay with us. Because we want to enjoy your company. We want to hear you laugh one more time. We want to hold you as you cry. We want you to know that sometimes we feel broken too. We feel like a burden. Sometimes we lose sight of the light. But there is a way to find it again: together. So, stay.

Please click here to visit the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council website for resources.

With gratitude to Brian Byrne for making this song public. You’ve touched our hearts. Thank you.


Shawna Percy

Please visit ShawnaPercy.com for more info

Discussing the suicidal mind – FREE conference with Dr. Gustavo Turecki (April 3 & 4, 2014)

“Ten years ago, Dr. Turecki, (professor of Psychiatry and Human Genetics at McGill University,) presented in our Region. He will now update us on ten years of research on the suicidal brain.”

On April 3 & 4, the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council in partnership with Grand River Hospital will be hosting four free presentations featuring Dr Gustavo Turecki.  All four presentations will focus on the suicidal brain but will be targeted to four specific audiences:

  • community based clinicians (Thurs April 3rd, 2:30 – 4:00pm)
  • general public  (Thurs April 3rd, 7:00 – 8:30pm)
  • primary care providers (Fri April 4th, 7:00am – 8:30am)
  • hospital staff clinicians (Fri April 4th, 11:00am – 12:30pm)

Seating is limited. To register contact Tana Nash, Director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council, at tnash@lutherwood.ca or call (519) 884-1470 x2143. Please indicate which session you would like to attend.

For more information please refer to the attached flyer.

Brain Science - Dr Gustavo Turecki FINAL




Press Release: Suicide Ideation Group


NEWS RELEASE – September 5, 2013

Suicide Prevention Council to fund Suicide Ideation Group


Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council is funding a 20 week pilot group for individuals in our community that experience suicide ideation but have never attempted suicide.  This group will run out of the Self Help Alliance, a division of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Waterloo Wellington Dufferin.

The suicide ideation group is modeled after the Skills for Safer Living Group for individuals who have attempted suicide and is currently available in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph, also through the Self Help Alliance.  Although only brought to our Region in 2010, over 100 individuals who have attempted suicide have benefited.   “The support of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council for this pilot project is vital to be able to expand the range of supports available to those experiencing thoughts of suicide” states Allan Strong, Team Leader, Skills for Safer Living and the Centre of Excellence in Peer Support.

“It is imperative that we continue to bring groups like these to our community so that individuals that are struggling with suicidal thoughts or have attempted suicide can learn different skills to help them cope differently.   We teach people that have had a heart operation nutrition skills and the value of cardio, why should we expect any different with emotional based skills?   If someone doesn’t learn to do something differently or to learn new skills, they will continue to resort to the same coping methods and that is unacceptable” says Tana Nash, executive director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council.

World Suicide Prevention Day is this Tuesday September 10th.  In addition to hosting events to support this day, the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council highlights some key initiatives they are working on in collaboration with community partners to reduce suicides:  A new wallet sized help card and resource card for youth developed by the Council will be distributed to all counseling offices throughout secondary schools of the Waterloo Region District School Board.  The Board is also currently reviewing their suicide prevention protocols.    Lutherwood has introduced a My Life Matters Day at its school to help troubled teens overcome suicide ideation, and has added community workers as a resource for certain local institutions working with children such as a Mental Health Youth Court Worker for the provincial court system.  At Grand River Hospital, a ‘wellness call’ was introduced earlier this winter.  Any adult patient who has been hospitalized with thoughts of suicide or after an attempted suicide will receive a call from a hospital social worker within 72 hours of their discharge.   “Making a connection to those that have attempted suicide is a crucial step in showing we care” says Judy Shearer, AVP of the Mental Health and Addictions Program at Grand River Hospital. In addition, Grand River hospital will be piloting two booklets aimed at helping individuals and their loved ones after a suicide attempt.

“It is our hope that the Skills for Safer Living Ideation Program will receive ongoing funding so that all individuals who would like to take part in this group can,” Nash said.  “But for now, it is a huge step in the right direction.”  The group has graciously been funded by the Bowl-a-thon fundraising efforts of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council and the Daniel Tudisco Memorial Golf Tournament.  “We are exceptionally fortunate to have the generous support of the community so we may provide these types of programs” Nash added.

For more information about the Skills for Safer Living Ideation Group, please contact Allan Strong at strong@self-help.ca.


Tana Nash, Executive Director                                                                                           

Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council                                                                                 

519-884-1470 ext 2143 or tnash@lutherwood.ca 



Click here to learn more about World Suicide Prevention day: SEPTEMBER 10th

SAVE THE DATE! World Suicide Prevention Day: September 10th

September 10th marks World Suicide Prevention Day


Events will be taking place in countries across the globe. For those close to home (Waterloo Region) here are the details of what’s happening in our neck of the woods. This event is open to anyone who wants to equip themselves with resources to help themselves or others. Knowing the statistic that 1 in 7 Canadians has seriously considered suicide (The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention,) I believe this is in important endeavour.

Guest speaker

The festivities will kick off with special guest speaker, Executive Director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council, Tana Nash.

Come hungry for knowledge. Come hungry for food.

In addition to resources there will also be free food thanks to M&M meats. Thank you for your generous support of this important cause M&M.

Butterfly release

And that’s not all. A butterfly release is scheduled for 6pm. I attended my first release last year. It was a moving expression of life’s fragility and wonder.





WSPD Poster CAMB Final

Where I’ll be:

I plan to be at the Kitchener City Hall for the Butterfly Release ceremonies and other events from 4:30 – 7:00pm.  Please come, check out some events, pick up some resources (they could save a life!) and if you see me say “Hi.” 🙂

World Suisice Prevention day Butterfly promo poster 2013 FINAL

This little light of mine:

Whether you can join an event, or not, you can still participate by lighting a candle (or using a battery operated one) and joining others around the world as we bring a warm glow to the dark night by shining our lights in our windows at 8pm.



Free suicide seminar for family physicians – spread the word! (June 4, RSVP by May 24)


Bell Let’s Talk and the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council are sponsoring a bi-annual training seminar for family physicians and primary caregivers.

When: June 4th, 5:30pm – 8:00pm

Where: Holiday Inn, 30 Fairway Rd, Kitchener

Cost: FREE

Click here to RSVP Tana Nash at the WRSPC by May 24th

Please share this post with your doctor.  Physicians, nurse practitioners, and residents can have a significant impact in preventing suicide.  Spread the word.


Shawna’s IGNITE WATERLOO talk! “He died by…” (video)

A 5 minute talk using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds.  That’s the Ignite Waterloo challenge.  I had the privilege of rising to the occasion at a sold out Ignite Waterloo event this past February.  Since then, a lot of you have been waiting patiently for the videos from that venue.  Although the official videos have yet to be released, and my personal camera was in a haze (as you will soon see,) the recorded audio my friend captured was clear.  Between that and the slides, I had enough for challenge #2: create my own interim Ignite Waterloo movie.

When the official footage from Ignite Waterloo is posted to their YouTube channel I will be sure to let you all know.  In the meantime, I hope this talk makes the positive impact it seemed to have that night in February at The Breithaupt Block.

Click here for references to the statistics used in my Ignite Waterloo talk.

Laurier University is first to embark on staff and student suicide alertness training!

Exciting press release from the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council:


WATERLOO – The Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council and Wilfrid Laurier University are breaking new ground by providing suicide-alertness training for student teachers.

All 150 students enrolled in Laurier’s Waterloo-based Faculty of Education will participate in a three-and-a-half-hour suicide-alertness workshop on Jan. 18.

Wilfrid Laurier University is leading by example and taking action,” said Tana Nash, executive director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council. “It is our hope that other Faculty of Education programs will take notice and follow suit.”

Suicide-prevention training for teachers is currently not mandatory in Ontario despite the number of youth suicides, attempts, and suicidal ideation that take place in the school setting. Between seven and 10 young people aged 10 to 29 took their own lives each year in Waterloo Region during the period 2000-2007. More alarming, suicidal ideation and attempted suicide are reported more frequently for youth ages 15-19 than any other population. Youth continue to be an important target group for suicide-prevention strategies.

“It is critically important for teachers to know the signs of severe distress that could possibly lead to suicide attempts in children and youth,” said Colleen Willard-Holt, dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Education. “This is one of very few actual life-and-death situations that teachers can face. It is incumbent upon us as teacher educators to do all we can to prepare aspiring teachers with concrete steps that might conceivably save a life.”

During the Laurier training, five workshops of 30 students each will be facilitated by members of the Suicide Intervention community training team involving trainers from a variety of organizations led by the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Grand River Branch. The future teachers will learn how to identify people with thoughts of suicide and how to connect them to suicide-intervention resources. The workshops have graciously been funded by the Karim the Dream Basketball Tournament, an awareness and fundraising event hosted by friends and family in honour of their dear friend Karim who died by suicide.

“It is our hope that this training can be built into the curriculum in the future so that we do not need to rely on fundraising efforts,” Nash said. “But for now, it is a huge step in the right direction. By having more individuals in our community that are ready and willing to become suicide-prevention helpers, we are building a suicide-safer community that preserves, protects and promotes life.”

Suicide-alertness training is also available for workplaces, community groups or can be taken as an individual.  For more information, contact workshops@cmhagrb.on.ca or visit www.cmhagrb.on.ca