Suicide and Crisis Intervention Centre
Fraud order by Joyce Nunes, Toronto, Canada student
Suicide Crisis Intervention Centre (SCIC) addresses the tragedy of suicide from three angles: prevention, intervention, and support. Our clients include people who are or have ever contemplated suicide, or who have been affected by suicide of a loved one, family member, or associate. Prevention activities include primarily education services in the community. The goal of prevention is to work with people to combat the underlying causes of suicide, including depression and anxiety, family problems, tragedies and crises. The second category relates to direct intervention. SCIC hosts a hotline for individuals considering suicide and those who suspect someone they know may be. The final area is support. SCIC hosts several support groups for individuals who have survived suicide attempts, as well as for those who have a loved one who has attempted or committed suicide.
SCIC also provides referral services for psychotherapy and other forms of counseling and individual and group therapy.
SCIC reaches out to all in the community and services are free of charge so enable us to serve people of all income levels. Prevention targets youth and at-risk individuals. Hotline services are anonymous. Support services are used primarily by teens and parents, though SCIC also hosts groups for young siblings and children of those who have attempted or committed suicide and a group for grandparents who have been affected. Volunteers are often individuals who have been affected by suicide and students from the local community college.
One of the ways SCIC extends itself to those not traditionally involved has been through a presence at school-sponsored events and in classrooms as well as by hosting a support group at the community college campus. Though currently the organization has not had much success reaching out to the Hispanic community in the area, efforts are being made to improve this group's involvement, including recruitment of Spanish-speaking volunteers for the hotline, hiring a bilingual program coordinator, and reaching out to churches.
Groups SCIC Collaborates With In the Community
As indicated above, SCIC works with local substance abuse treatment and prevention organizations, domestic violence organizations, schools, and more recently churches. Furthermore, referrals are offered to each of these (except churches) as well as relevant therapy and counseling options.
Challenges and Successe
A major challenge faced recently was the recognition that suicide rates among recent immigrants and their families are higher in the community than among those who have been in the country for several generations. In order to improve outreach to these previously underserved communities, SCIC has hired a bilingual program coordinator and focused its outreach strategies. Furthermore, an intern from the local community college is researching cultural competence and how it relates to suicide prevention, intervention, and support.
A major success was receiving the funding to hire a new program coordinator to focus on immigrant and non-English speaking groups in the community. As an organization that strives to offer equitable and appropriate services to all, this success made staff members and volunteers alike proud and served as further motivation to continue on the path.