Waterloo Region's Tana Nash Named President of Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention

Press Release – March 11, 2013 – Tana Nash will bring an innovative approach and fresh leadership to suicide prevention in Canada's largest province as the mint-new President of the Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention. Ms. Nash is Executive Director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council and has been a member of the Ontario Association's board since 2010. The Association is dedicated to engaging in an open dialogue about suicide and linking communities to suicide awareness initiatives.

One of her first acts in office was to write two letters – one to Ontario Premier Wynne, the other to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. With Bill C-300, a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention, being passed into law on December 14, 2012 the OASP would like to provide input into the framework that will be required by the designated authority. "This Parliamentary initiative unified all parties and gave real hope to all Canadians and is a huge step forward for suicide prevention" Nash said. "Please announce this governing body and arrangement as soon as possible," she pleads, "and not at the last minute. Suicides are happening each day and lives are being lost while Parliament's hopeful initiative idles." She also recalled Mr. Harper's "eloquent eulogy" for former Regina MP David Batters who took his own life and "how your words struck such a meaningful chord with those who heard them in person, on television or read them in print."

In her letter to Premier Wynne, Ms Nash says "successive governments in Ontario under all three parties have, since the late 90s, produced strategies to improve mental health services." "The prevention of suicide,' she writes, "is a compelling place to start to implement these strategies and plans which were developed by the community but never comprehensively acted on. Suicide prevention represents the urgency to act."

In Ontario in 2007, the number of suicide-related deaths was the second lowest among the provinces and territories with a mortality rate of 8.0/100,000. However, the highest suicide rate in Canada is found amongst aboriginal youth at the Pikanigikum Reserve in northwestern Ontario where the rate is 36 times greater. Nash reminds us that "suicide affects all ages – young and old. And while statistics provide important data so that we may track trends, we are never to forget the impact that suicides and suicidal behavior have on our society and the emotional impact on loved ones left behind by suicide. One suicide is far too many."

Tana Nash and the Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention look forward to connecting with the many organizations and individuals that are current members of OASP and increasing and diversifying the membership. A new website will also be launched in 2013 that aims to connect these organizations across our vast province.

Contact – Tana Nash – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 519-884-1470 ext 2143
OASP – 19387 Glen Rd Williamstown, ON K0C 2J0