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Suicide awareness council ending, work carries on by CMHAWW

Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington-Dufferin announced it will be ending in its current form after more than 20 years
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The Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington building in Guelph.

GUELPH/WELLINGTON – A Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo-Wellington (CMHAWW) official clarified the work of suicide awareness and prevention will continue on despite a dedicated council coming to an end after 20 years. 

The Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington-Dufferin (SACWD) announced on social media it will be ending in its current structure after over 20 years of existence. 

Katrina Burch, CMHAWW team lead for mental health promotion and education, explained it is more of a restructuring rather than the end.

She said the mental health promotion and education team will still be doing the work the council was doing around suicide prevention, awareness, activities, training, education and communication but is changing to be more closely aligned with how the current health system is laid out. 

She used the Ontario Health Teams as an example of this where Guelph Wellington is grouped in one and Dufferin is part of a different system. 

“Really being aligned closer with the system to make sure that the work is being targeted on what the needs of the community are,” Burch said, adding the scope of Wellington-Guelph-Dufferin was a huge area to cover with different needs in each. 

“Just making sure that each area will have sort of their thumb on the pulse of what’s happening in the region.” 

Burch said the council has always done good work but now the work will be done by organizations already in the system. 

In Guelph-Wellington, CMHAWW will be leading the work around suicide awareness and prevention. Previously, SACWD was staffed by a part-time person and this role will be absorbed into the CMHAWW. 

Burch said this allows the person in the role to be more integrated into the existing mental health system and gives more training and education opportunities. 

She wanted to drive home the work will still be done and the community is not losing anything through this restructuring.