FAQ 1: What are the issues being addressed with this initiative?

    The need for a pan-Canadian research and knowledge translation agenda on suicide emerged from the stakeholder engagement that informed the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention. While there are suicide research efforts underway in Canada, there are significant limitations and challenges:

    • Research is not coordinated, and this results in knowledge gaps.

    • Existing knowledge does not always make it into communities, either due to its complexity or challenges with access and how it’s shared.

    • Even when evidence exists, lessons on effective approaches are not always shared more broadly.

    Evidence is often not informed by people with lived experience, including those who have experienced a suicide loss or attempt.

    FAQ 2: Why are these issues being addressed now?

    Internationally, research prioritization has been seen as an effective approach to address research challenges. In its 2014 report, Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative, the World Health Organization suggests national responses to suicide should include research prioritization. Several countries have undertaken similar exercises, including the United States and Australia.

    FAQ 3: How will these issues be addressed?

    For this initiative to succeed, existing networks and stakeholder groups will need to work in partnership to create new opportunities for collaboration, including undertaking a process to develop a Canadian research and knowledge translation agenda on suicide.

    FAQ 4: What are the facts to justify the need for this initiative?

    There are various approaches used at the international level to establish research agendas. However, no standard process exists in Canada to develop a research and knowledge translation agenda on suicide that would represent the needs of a broad range of suicide research stakeholders. Research funders currently implement research priorities-setting processes which can be costly and delay knowledge creation and its translation into practice.

    FAQ 5: What are the goals associated with this initiative?

    To set a focus on areas that are most likely to move the research on suicide and suicide prevention forward, particularly among populations with higher rates of suicide or populations that are underrepresented in research.

    Further research efforts and accelerate progress by expanding research in areas that:

    • are most relevant to Canadian stakeholders;
    • address existing gaps;
    • take into account Canadian strengths; and
    • build upon existing research efforts at the Canadian and international level.

    Increase knowledge translation of existing research findings to enhance awareness among stakeholders and reduce stigma around suicide.

    Accelerate the implementation/scale up of existing knowledge and innovation into practice in order to better meet Canadian needs.

    FAQ 6: Who is guiding this initiative?

    The Canadian Research Advisory Committee on Suicide and its Prevention was established to provide advice on the design, implementation and evaluation of a priority-setting process that is appropriate for the Canadian context.

    The membership is comprised of:

    • Researchers with a diversity of research interests

    • Individuals bereaved by suicide loss

    • People with lived experience of suicide attempt

    • Representatives from Canadian and health professional


    • Representatives from research funders

    Click here for the membership list.

    FAQ 7: What are the activities that will occur in the context of this initiative?

    1. A literature review was conducted by the Quebec Network on Suicide, Mood Disorders and Related Disorders. It provides the current research evidence base in Canada and how it fits within the international context.

    2. Stakeholder Engagement:

    • In-person stakeholder dialogue sessions were held in Toronto and Halifax on November 28, 2017, in Vancouver and Winnipeg on December 13, 2017, and Montreal and Ottawa on January 19, 2018.

    • Canadian online stakeholder engagement.

    FAQ 8: What will be produced as part of this work?

    FAQ 9: Who will the results of this work be most relevant to?

    The targeted audience for the uptake of the research and knowledge translation agenda is mainly researchers, research funders, knowledge translation experts, and their partners. However, the targeted audiences to develop the agenda includes researchers, persons with lived experience, service providers, research organizations, research funders, professional associations, not for profit organizations, and the private sector.

    FAQ 10: Are individuals bereaved by suicide loss and people with lived experience of suicide attempt engaged in this initiative?

    An important goal of this initiative is for survivors (individuals with lived personal experience of a suicide ideation, attempt, individual bereaved by suicide or otherwise affected), researchers, health care providers and decision-makers to actively collaborate and bring about positive changes in the health of people living in Canada.

    FAQ 11: Why engage with survivors of suicide attempt and loss in the context of this initiative?

    "Engaging survivors in health care research makes investments in research more accountable and transparent, provides new insights that could lead to innovative discoveries, and ensures that research is relevant to survivors' concerns. The international experience with engaging citizens and patients in research has shown that involving them early in the design of studies, ideally as early as at the planning stage, leads to better results."

    Adapted from: Methods for Involving Patients in Topic Generation for Patient-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research, An International Perspective (2012), p.8

    FAQ 12: Why should I get involved in this initiative and why should I use the outputs if I am not a researcher or a research funder?

    Every stakeholder has a role to play in shaping suicide research. We all benefit from, or are otherwise affected by research results, even though we are not necessarily involved in its production. Various stakeholders can comment on the usefulness of proposed research, help to identify anything that’s missing, inform research priorities, and apply research findings.

    Stakeholder engagement leads to better research, a better understanding of the affected community, and, ultimately, improved research results. Working together produces lasting solutions that benefit everyone.

Summary of the initiative

    Summary of the Initiative

    This initiative is led by the Government of Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada and in collaboration with the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

    The goal of this work is to establish a research and knowledge translation agenda on suicide and its prevention based on the priorities and perspectives of a range of stakeholders including people with lived experience, family members, service providers, health care professionals, policy makers, researchers and research funders.

    This online activity is part of a Canadian advisory committee comprised of individuals from a variety of perspectives and backgrounds to provide input, advice and feedback on the process,

    The questionnaire builds on the findings from the in-person dialogues and offers the opportunity for a wider range of stakeholders to have their say in the research and knowledge translation priorities.

    The advisory committee and the project team will use questionnaire results, along with the information we gather from other parts of the process to develop a final list of priorities for research and knowledge translation. We expect the final list of priorities will be available in Fall 2018.

    Further information on the advisory committee and the in-person stakeholder dialogues are available here and in the FAQ.

In-person stakeholder dialogues

    In-person stakeholder dialogues

    Below is a description of the in-person stakeholder dialogues.

    A summary of the six in-person stakeholder dialogues held across Canada

    The in-person stakeholder dialogues are part of a broader process being undertaken by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Mental Health Commission of Canada to inform a Canadian research agenda on suicide and to identify priorities for mobilizing and implementing existing knowledge (also known as knowledge translation).

    Meeting location and dates

    • Toronto and Halifax: November 28, 2017

    • Vancouver and Winnipeg: December 13, 2017

    • Montreal and Ottawa: January 19, 2018

    Stakeholder Dialogue Goals

    1. Identify a broad range of research and knowledge translation themes and topics

    2. Begin to prioritize the themes and topics identified

    3. Generate research questions related to priority themes and topics

      Based on the knowledge and experiences of a wide range of stakeholders

    What Process Did we Use?

    Planning  »  Participant Sampling  »  Stakeholder Dialogues  »  Evaluation  » Analysis

    The first phase in the process was the Planning phase where we identified locations (cities) for the dialogues and sites.

    In the Participant Sampling phase, we generated a list of invitees drawing on the knowledge of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada along with the Canadian Research Advisory Committee on Suicide and its Prevention.

    In this phase, a broad range of stakeholders including people with lived experience of suicidal thoughts or behaviours, family members and other caregivers, service providers, policy makers/government, researchers and research funders were invited to attend 1 of 6 full day meetings to identify research and knowledge translation themes and topics, begin to prioritize them, and generate some related research questions.

    The Stakeholder Dialogues included 5 key components:

    1. Provide context (goal: foster shared understanding) via didactic presentation and written materials (PowerPoint slides)

    2. Generate themes and topics via small group brainstorming

    3. Prioritization of themes and topics via dotmocracy exercise

    4. Generate research questions via small group brainstorming

    5. Get feedback on process (process evaluation) via survey and live group response

    Each dialogue was slightly different based on context and evaluation feedback.

    We included two types of Evaluation as part of the process: 1) participant evaluation and 2) facilitator evaluation. We used findings from the evaluation to inform future dialogues.

    In the Analysis phase, we reviewed identified themes and topics from each dialogue and created master list of themes and topics that are being used to form the basis of a Canadian online stakeholder engagement phase.

    Who Participated?

    138 stakeholders participated in the dialogues. All stakeholder groups were represented.

    Breakdown of participants per location:

    • Toronto: 19
    • Halifax: 14
    • Vancouver: 25
    • Winnipeg: 11
    • Ottawa: 30
    • Montreal: 39

    What Did We Find?

    A total of 254 priorities were generated during the dialogues. After removing duplicates and grouping similar priorities together, the final list includes 21 unique themes and a number of example topics for each theme. Sixteen priorities related to research methods and processes were also identified.

    Next Steps

    Next steps include completing the Canadian online stakeholder engagement phase. The final research and knowledge translation agenda report is expected to be available in Fall 2018.

Canadian Research Advisory Committee on Suicide and its Prevention

    Advisory committee membership list

    • Ms. Alicia Raimundo: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Advocate

    • Ms. Barbara Swantson: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Advocate

    • Dr. Carolina Koutras: Team Lead, Projects and Initiatives, Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

    • Dr. Daniel McKennitt: Family Physician and Epidemiologist, University of Alberta

    • Dr. David Klonsky: Professor, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia

    • Dr. Gustavo Turecki: Chair, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University (Committee Chair)

    • Dr. James Bolton: Assistant Professor, Director of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba

    • Mr. Jérôme Gaudreault: Director General, Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention

    • Dr. John Oliffe: Professor and Associate Director Research, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia

    • Ms. Juanna Ricketts: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Advocate

    • Ms. Julie Kathleen Campbell: Executive Director, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

    • Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker: Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Psychological Association

    • Ms. Mara Grunau: Executive Director, Centre for Suicide Prevention

    • Ms. Michelle Peel: Director General, Science, Knowledge Translation and Ethics, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

    • Dr. Paul Links: Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University

    • Dr. Susan Chatwood: Executive and Scientific Director, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research



    Below is a list of key terms used throughout the consultation.

    Community Resilience:

    The sustained ability of a community to utilize available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.

    Contagion Effect:

    Can be explained as a situation where a shock in a particular region spreads out and reoccurs with other people (example: death by suicide).

    Disparate Suicide Rates:

    Multiple variations of suicide rates, not allowing comparison, particularly between communities and countries.


    The study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events (including disease), and the application of this study to the control of diseases and other health problems.


    The formation of ideas or concepts.


    The process of putting a decision or plan into effect; execution.

    Individual Resilience:

    The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences.

    Knowledge Translation (KT):

    KT is defined as the synthesis, exchange, and application of knowledge by relevant stakeholders to accelerate the benefits of global and local innovation in strengthening health systems and improving people’s health.


    A typical example or pattern of something; a model. 


    A route formed by way of achieving specified results; a course of action.


    Is an intervention conducted after a suicide, largely taking the form of support for the bereaved (family, friends, professionals and peers). Family and friends of the suicide victim may be at increased risk of suicide themselves.

    Predictive Analysis:

    Is the practice of extracting information from existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends.

    Priority Populations

    Groups at a higher risk for suicide or with higher suicide rates than the general population as a result of various barriers such as trauma or life circumstances (example: men and boys, some Indigenous communities, people who have attempted suicide, people impacted by suicide loss, people serving federal sentences, youth (15 to 24 year olds), LGBTQ2 youth).


    Relating to the interrelation of social factors and individual thoughts and behaviours.

    Qualitative Research:

    In qualitative research, information is obtained from some members of a target population through unstructured or semi-structured moderated procedures. Such procedures include group discussions and individual interviews conducted in-person, by telephone or through electronic means. Qualitative research results cannot be statistically projected to the broader target population.

    Quantitative Research:

    Quantitative research is used to quantify an issue by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics and uses measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research.

    Scale Up:

    Increase something (or be increased) in size or number.

    Societal discourses:

    Social discourse is focused on social issues that are the subject of social experiences. Advertising is an example of social discourse, as a social practice where a community interacts and it´s possible to share interests, opinions and values through language.

    Stakeholder Engagement:

    The process by which an organization involves people who may be affected by the decisions it makes, or can influence the implementation of its decisions. Stakeholder engagement is a key part of social responsibility.

    Systematic Assessment:

    A systematic process or method of gathering information to better determine the knowledge possessed or achieved. Results may provide quantitative and qualitative data.

    Systems science:

    Systems science is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of systems - from simple to complex - in nature, society, cognition, and science itself.


    Moving or situated in the opposite direction from that in which a stream or river flows; nearer to the source.

    Vicarious Trauma:

    The emotional residue of exposure that people have from being exposed to trauma stories of others and become witnesses to the pain, fear, and terror that trauma survivors have endured.

Privacy Notice

    Privacy Notice

    The personal information you provide is protected in accordance with the Privacy Act and collected under the authority of the Department of Health Act and the Public Health Agency of Canada Act. Your personal information will be collected to inform the development of a research and knowledge translation agenda on suicide. You have the right to request access to and correction of your personal information. You also have the right to file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada if you think your personal information has been handled improperly. For more information about the handling of your personal information, please contact the Privacy Management Division at 613-948-3179 or hc.privacy-vie.privee.sc@canada.ca.