Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth

Please Note

The following videos are intended to provide helpful and hopeful information for parents whose youth are suicidal. The content of the videos has been developed and reviewed by individuals with lived experience as well as experts, and safety was a key principle for all of the videos. As this is an emotionally heavy conversation, please know that there are people available to talk at any time [Crisis Services Canada 1.833.456.4566], and at any time if taking a break from the videos would be helpful, please do so.

Thank you for taking the time to watch these videos, and if appropriate for you, please share these with others you believe would benefit from this information.

In September 2019, we began gathering the wisdom and insight of parents with lived experience to guide this important project – to tell us what parents supporting suicidal youth needed to know to keep their child safe and alive. We received hundreds of responses, and that November, worked with a focus group of parents to distill your questions into five key topics: difficulties identifying signs and improving awareness of suicide risk; communicating effectively; knowing what to do in periods of crisis; keeping youth safe at home; and accessing services. There was rich discussion about the issues and realities facing parents of suicidal youth, captured in the graphic below. What follows are the answers to those questions – what is most helpful and hopeful

– from parents and youth with lived experience, clinicians, and suicide prevention experts.

Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth: Accessing Services

For more helpful and hopeful information view our Accessing Services tipsheet here

Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth: Signs and Awareness

For more helpful and hopeful information view our Signs and Awareness tipsheet here

Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth: Safety at Home

For more helpful and hopeful information view our Safety at Home tipsheet here

Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth: Communication 

For more helpful and hopeful information view our Communication tipsheet here

Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth: Crisis Action 

For more helpful and hopeful information view our Crisis Action tipsheet here

Measuring Our Impact

Please complete this brief and anonymous survey to help us understand if we’re achieving our mission of helping parents support their suicidal youth.

Complete now

Scan of Existing Resources

Pleo asked the Centre for Suicide Prevention to conduct a review of information and resources in order to identify what is currently available to respond to parents’ and caregivers’ questions about keeping their suicidal youth safe. While there was little academic research addressing the specific questions, the document contains many references that will provide useful information on a number of topics of concern to parents and caregivers.

View Now (.pdf)

For Researchers and Policy Makers

This parent led project gathered the on the ground information about what parents and youth need in order to survive. The data collected is available here for others to continue this important work.

View Now (.pdf)


It is with a huge heart of gratitude that we thank Hilary Allen who has volunteered countless hours managing this project on behalf of Pleo from conception to creation,

All the parents and youth with lived experience who shared vulnerably from their expertise to impact future generations,

Mary Walsh, Writer, Actor, Comedian, Activist for helping to shine a light on this important topic,

Robert Olson, Librarian at Centre for Suicide Prevention – who prepared the literature/resource scan,

Roxanne Hutchings,  Talent Strategist – for her compassionate facilitation and support of our focus groups,

Ottawa Public Health, for their in-kind contributions to our focus group,

And to the following subject matter experts who have supported and contributed to this project since it’s conception:

Dr. Yvonne Bergmans, Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide and Depression Studies

Dr. Michael Cheng, MD, FRCP(C) Staff Psychiatrist, CHEO, Associate Professor, uOttawa

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

Mr. Ben Leikin, Supervisor Mental Health, Ottawa Public Health

Dr. Ian Manion, PhD C Psych, Mental Health System Consultant, Public Speaker, Manion & Associates

Dr. Mark Norris, MD, FRCPC, Pediatrician, Adolescent Health and Eating Disorder Program, CHEO, Associate Professor, uOttawa

This important project made possible by the generosity of

RBC Foundation
Bell Let’s Talk

Just knowing you are not alone in your struggles is a big help and gives you courage to get through the next day.

Toronto Parent