Halifax police chief proposes publishing suicide stats to start conversation

The Canadian Press
June 21, 2017
By The Canadian Press
Halifax’s police chief is proposing that suicide statistics be released in an effort to start a conversation on the issue.

Chief Jean-Michel Blais raised the idea at a police commission meeting this week, saying the data could come out monthly and wouldn’t include specific locations or details on what happened — just the outcomes.

Blais says during one shift several weeks ago, Halifax Regional Police responded to two suicides and one suicide attempt in the same area.

He says it’s becoming too common and should be looked at as a “significant mental-health issue that deserves and requires reporting on.”

Statistics show the number of mental health forms completed by Halifax Regional Police increased 25.89 per cent from 309 in May 2016, to 389 in May 2017.

RCMP Chief Supt. Lee Bergerman says that in a three-week period in May, officers responded to 28 attempted suicides just in the Halifax district.

Karen Letofsky of the board of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention told Global News that the public needs to know how many people are dying by suicide, but that the figures should include the context as well.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2017

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