Working together to prevent all student suicides

Suicide Awareness and Prevention Framework

The foundational belief of the UCalgary Suicide Awareness and Prevention Framework is that suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health systems are preventable. We aspire towards long-term system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care for our students using our seven key goals. Our mission is to prevent all suicides. The only acceptable goal is zero suicide.

UCalgary’s framework is based on the Campus Mental Health Strategy’s vision to create a caring campus community. It focuses on responsiveness and reflects principles within the Zero Suicide Framework created by the Zero Suicide Institute and the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre.

Our guiding principles

In promoting mental health as part of the Campus Mental Health Strategy, the University of Calgary aims to be:

We actively support and promote the mental health, well-being, and success of the campus community. We are an inclusive community that promotes mental health education, understanding, and awareness.

We leverage and contribute to local, national, and international evidence and perspectives to strengthen our collective capacity to support mental health.

We build capacity and strengthen ourselves to inspire further growth and innovation in promoting and supporting mental health.

We are responsive to the mental health needs of the campus community.

We commit to a culture of continuous improvement in the domain of mental health.

In addition, as a foundation for our guiding principles, UCalgary will engage with lived experience and diverse and vulnerable populations.

Working towards zero

Ucalgary Suicide Awareness and Prevention Framework

The following goals will guide our path towards the vision of zero suicides in our campus community.

1. Lead

Lead a university-wide safety-orientated culture committed to suicide prevention, reducing stigma and promoting a community of caring.

2. Educate

Educate the campus community to provide competent, confident, and caring supports to encourage help seeking and help offering.

3. Identify

Identify students with suicide risk via skills training, on-line resources, and within Student Wellness Services’ initial screening and assessment.

4. Engage

Reach out and engage students through supportive outreach.

5. Assess and Guide

Assess and guide, through triaging, students at-risk of suicide; co-develop a safety plan/case management plan, or transition to community.

6. Transition

Transition students to treatment and return to campus. Engage Alberta Health Services and community-based resources to develop transition pathways between university and the community so students can be treated in the community and then smoothly transitioned back to university.

7. Improve

Improve and communicate policies, processes, and procedures through continuous quality improvement, identifying clear measures for evaluation.

  1. Clearly communicate all processes and associated guiding documents to the campus community and community partners.
  2. Develop and improve process and procedures related to suicide prevention and awareness through data-driven quality improvement & evaluation (using clear measures) and continuous quality improvement.

Advisory Committee

  1. Debbie Bruckner, chair

    Senior Director, Student Wellness, Access & Support

  2. Andrew Szeto, PhD, co-chair

    Director Campus Mental Health Strategy

  3. Sandra Kadhim

    Undergraduate medical student

  4. Gina Dimitropoulos, PhD

    Faculty of Social Work

  5. David Kirby

    Clinical Services Manager, Distress Centre

  6. Dr. Chris Wilkes

    Professor, Psychiatry, Section Chief, Child & Adolescent Outpatient & Specialized Services

  7. Melanie Grier

    Undergraduate student, Department of Psychology

  8. Mara Grunau

    Director, Centre for Suicide Prevention

  9. Andrew Thompson

    Undergraduate student, Department of Neuroscience

  10. Brittany Lindsay

    Graduate student, Department of Psychology

  11. Maya Sohn

    Alumna, Department of Neuroscience, Graduate student, Health Sciences.

For more information, contact

Debbie Bruckner, Senior Director, Student Wellness, Access & Support
Andrew Szeto, Director, Campus Mental Health Strategy


What’s been getting us through?

We’ve asked the campus community to share what’s been getting you through the pandemic. It can sometimes be the small things, like growing a plant or sharing a kind word, that helps us build meaning during a tough time. These tips will encourage you to keep going – you got this!

Read more

The Suicide Awareness and Prevention Framework was developed in collaboration with the Campus Mental Health Strategy, in community partnership with Calgary’s Centre for Suicide Prevention, and the Distress Centre.