With families from Northern Saskatchewan who have lost loved ones to suicide in attendance at the Legislature, NDP Critic for Northern Affairs Doyle Vermette introduced Bill No. 618 — The Saskatchewan Strategy for Suicide Prevention Act, 2018.

“Suicide is an issue that affects far too many families throughout Saskatchewan,” Vermette said. “I’ve been to far too many funerals for young people, and I’ve seen firsthand the devastation caused by the lack of mental health supports. It’s time for a suicide prevention strategy.”

“We as parents, friends, family members and a community would like to see more involvement with the government on supporting us with planning and the implementation of suicide awareness and prevention for all ages, men and women,” said the group of families, which included Sally Ratt, who lost her 12-year-old daughter Ariana to suicide, and Linda Roberts, who lost her 14-year-old daughter Jadene to suicide.

Between 2005 and 2019, more than 2,200 people in Saskatchewan died by suicide. To help fight the problem, Vermette introduced a bill calling for the government to implement a suicide strategy last year, but the bill did not pass without the support of Sask. Party members.

If passed, Bill 618 would force the government to implement a suicide prevention strategy. The Saskatchewan Health Authority would be required to start consultations with relevant stakeholders and groups within 180 days of coming into force for the development of the strategy, and report back annually on the progress made.

“A suicide prevention strategy is needed, and it’s needed now,” Vermette said. “This Sask. Party government needs to stop letting families down.”