Nova Scotians have an opportunity to think about what can be done to better understand the complex issues of suicide as the province joins other communities around the world to mark Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday, Sept. 10. In 2003 Nova Scotia Health Promotion, in collaboration with its partners, developed the country’s only government-endorsed and funded injury prevention strategy. Suicide prevention is one of the three priority areas. “The recognition of this day is a positive step forward,” said Health Promotion Minister Rodney MacDonald. “By bringing this issue to the forefront, we hope to look at the complex issue of suicide in a new way.” Nova Scotia Health Promotion is currently working with its partners — including the Department of Health, district health authorities, addiction services, the Nova Scotia Community Network to Address Suicide, and the Nova Scotia division of the Canadian Mental Health Association — to better address the issue of suicide. This past summer, the best practices around suicide prevention were researched. The information gathered will help develop the province’s suicide prevention strategy. A committee of key stakeholders will guide the initial draft of the strategy, expected by the end of the year. “We are pleased to have so many groups and organizations ready to join together and address this issue,” said Mr. MacDonald. “I am pleased with the level of collaboration already shown and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have.” Suicide is responsible for the deaths of nearly 100 Nova Scotians every year. It is estimated that suicide costs Nova Scotians up to $100 million each year in direct and indirect costs. Although that number is disturbing, it is the loss of life that yields the most tragic results. Health Promotion is committed to making Nova Scotia a safer and healthier place to live, and having a comprehensive provincial suicide prevention strategy will help achieve that goal. For information visit the Centre for Suicide Prevention website at www.suicideinfo.ca , the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.suicideprevention.ca , or contact your family physician or the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association at 902-466-6600.