Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line 1-888-429-8167
For Emergencies: Dial 911

HOw Communities Can help

Community Suicide Prevention

holistic approaches to
suicide prevention

Roots of Hope supports “nothing about us without us” so that programs, services, policies, etc reflect the diversity of the community and participate in this work.  We believe in having a healthy equity lens as suicide impacts all communities albeit in different and complex ways. Understanding this complexity requires those with lived experience to be able to share their story.


When listening to those with lived experience, whether those who have previously contemplated or those who have lost a loved one to suicide, their stories encompass varied events that can be understood through the social determinants of health. While each story is unique, combined they create a narrative that helps us have a deeper understanding of what programs and services are needed to prevent suicide. Combining this knowledge with what we know through scientific, peer reviewed research will help us identify what initiatives will be most meaningful as well as possible within Nova Scotia.


These stories also bring light to the fact that suicide prevention does not just rest within the health system, but also is influenced by the education, justice, economic and community services systems. There is opportunity to take an intersectoral approach that engages others outside of the health systems.

What is the community's role in our mental health system?

Mental health is experienced on a continuum – meaning sometimes we are feeling really good and other times we need more support. A tiered approach helps to choose what supports are needed in different situations. Often, we just need someone to listen with an empathetic ear, share a good meal, or enjoy others company. Other times we need help understanding how to navigate difficult emotions that are impacting our daily routines which may or may not require clinical help.


In Nova Scotia the Mental Health System is described as a tiered approach. Most people fall into the first and second tiers with less people experiencing more complex needs as you move up the pyramid.

Nova Scotia Mental Health Tiers

Everyone plays a role in supporting our mental health.

Direction 2025 NS Mental Health and Addiction Program Plan

Tier 2: primary, self management and community care

Tier 2 is where community plays an important role in supporting people’s mental health. We need to take care of our mental health in our homes, schools and workplaces. This means supporting families through difficult times, creating safe and inclusive cultures in schools, and practicing psychological health and safety at work. Understanding how we do this and taking action is critical in helping ourselves and each other. Nova Scotia Health is committed in supporting communities in this role.

NS Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction areas of action

Improve Suicide-related data monitoring and evaluation

Identify and support people at risk

Strengthen health system capacity

Extend access to services and supports in the community

Address targeted social issues identified as increasing risk

Strengthen upstream prevention

NS Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Framework

The Roots of Hope pillars align with the Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Framework adopted by the Province in 2020. Preventing and Reducing the Risk of Suicide: A Framework for Nova Scotia is intended to provide a guiding framework under which collaborative action can occur across sectors to reduce the burden of suicide in the province.