Where do We Start?
The first thing to know about Roots of Hope NS is that we are creating the path as we walk along. There
is no set, predetermined program or service which can be confusing and isn’t always received well.
People who are living with suicidality, whether personally or by supporting a loved one, want help and
need it now. The challenge is everyone’s situation is unique and one program will never meet everyone’s needs. Understanding how suicidality differently impacts priority populations (those that are
more at risk) will help us create solutions that meets people where they are at. This means not just looking at statistical data, but talking with those who have lived experience to help us understand what
the numbers can’t tell us.
As well, every community is unique with its own socio-economic makeup. Understanding people’s lived experiences and the context of where those experiences are occurring is another step. This includes considering the social determinants of health such as financial stability, education, sense of belonging, physical environments, childhood experiences, social supports and coping skills. Communities organization and people are actively engaged in providing programs and services to create healthy spaces and relationships. We need to value the impact of these efforts on life promotion rather than solely focusing on interventions that center on an individual’s mental health. Communities need to be able provide supports before and after clinical care is given to encourage their recovery journey.
Understanding the current community resources and whether these are accessible to all helps us know how we can create a stronger support network.
The Stigma is Real and We Still Need to Listen
Talking about suicide is not easy for many people. Some believe that telling others about their suicidal thoughts will only lead to judgement and being ostracized because no one knows how to help. However, there are others who are very ready to start working towards solutions. These are the people in our community who are managing suicidality every day, want to bring awareness that suicide can impact anyone, and believe that community plays an important role in preventing suicide. Roots of Hope NS is creating spaces for people to come together and take action in their community.
Another step is creating a Story Telling Program. Not everyone wants to tell their story and that’s ok.
Our healing journeys look different. For some, sharing their story is important and it can be quite lonely.
Sometimes people do not know how to react to their story. It can be hard to know what to share, when to share and how to share. The Story Telling Program is being co-created with folks who are already
actively telling their story publicly through Facebook posts, speaking engagements and hosting memorial events. By understanding what helps people feel safe to share, what they hope to achieve by sharing their story, and creating a sense of togetherness we hope to create a way to support those with lived experience.
There are also a lot of great people and organizations doing great work who are not sure how they fit into the conversation yet they are confronted with the challenges of supporting people who are feeling
suicidality. They are doing their best and want to do better. They are searching for answers to complex questions and there are no easy answers. The idea behind the Learning Circles is to explore our
individual experiences as well as understand how others are experiencing similar situations. This means understanding suicide from different perspectives and how suicidality is experienced differently in our communities. We will also draw on best practices and research as it relates to our lived experiences.
Together we will develop action plans to keep our steps moving forward with ideas that meet the needs of the community.
Are We Stepping in the Right Direction?
We continue taking steps forward in developing a community suicide prevention model centered on lived experience and looking at more holistic approaches. Our hope is that we will create a road map for
others to follow in their own communities. During this journey, we will stop, reflect and consider the impact we have made along the way. This website is a way to travel along with those who are actively
working on Roots of Hope NS.
Roots of Hope NS is about building community capacity to prevent suicide in our homes, schools and workplaces. There is no one program or service that can effectively address suicide for everyone. There is no one answer to answer these complex questions. By listening and learning from those who have lived experience we will create innovative ways for communities to address suicide prevention that reflect the current socio-economic circumstances. This work is being piloted in Northern Zone: Colchester-Easts Hants, Pictou and Cumberland Counties with the hope of expanding the program across Nova Scotia. We hope that people will follow our journey and start their own journey to begin
mobilizing their communities.