Believing that every person has the right to be supported in living a healthy, positive life, our mission is to reduce suicidal behaviour and its impact on individuals, family and communities.
Tana Nash – Executive Director, WRSPC
Tana spends her full time days dedicated to reducing the impact of suicidal behaviour in Waterloo Region as the Executive Director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council and dedicated to youth suicide prevention through a partnership with Lutherwood and Ministry of Child and Youth Services. After the suicides of her grandmother in 1987 her only sister and sibling in December 2006, Tana is now combining her professional skills in sales, marketing and communications from twenty years as an advertising sales representative with her passion for advocacy around suicide prevention. Education, awareness, advocacy for increased and better services, connecting to the community and breaking down the stigma surrounding suicide are key focuses. Tana and the Council were instrumental in having Bill C-300, a federal framework for suicide prevention, tabled in the House of Commons. This Bill became law in December of 2012.
Elisa Brewer-Singh – Program Coordinator, WRSPC
Since July of 2016 Elisa Brewer-Singh has been the program coordinator for the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council and brings to the role her passion for suicide prevention and a Master’s degree in Spiritual Care and Counselling from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Her work includes a focus on providing hope, help and healing for those who have been touched by suicide as well as the community. Prior to becoming program coordinator, Elisa volunteered with the Council facilitating both the open and closed suicide bereavement support groups as well as helping to organize an annual My Life Matters Day that focuses on resiliency and stress management strategies for high-risk youth.
Elisa’s desire is to see a reduction of suicidal behavior within our community and beyond through increased awareness and supports available.
Kim Hewitt – Chair, Canadian Mental Health Association, WWD
Sandra Ayerst – Secretary, Waterloo Catholic District School Board
Bianca Prince – Treasurer, Lutherwood
Adrienne Luft- Wilfrid Laurier University
Barb Ward – Waterloo Region District School Board
Bev Voisin – Salvation Army
Catrina Clark- Grand River Hospital
Colleen Pacey – Self Help Alliance
Debbie Emery – Community Representative
Laura McShane – Suicide Action for Wilmot Wellesley
Linda Flemming – Community Support Connections
Mark Beadle- Community Member
Rob Martin- Thresholds Home and Supports
Ryan Schubert – Waterloo Fire Rescue
Susan Markides – Cambridge Memorial Hospital
The role of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council’s Panel of Advisors is to provide expert guidance and make recommendations on issues and services that affect the Council, its administration and the community. The experts are independently called upon if there is a question or concern.
Dr. Jennifer Brasch – Medical Director, Psychiatric Emergency Service St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences McMaster University,
Dr. Brasch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She graduated from medical school at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 1991 and trained to be a psychiatrist in the residency program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Before joining the faculty of McMaster University in 1997, Dr. Brasch completed a fellowship in Emergency Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Since 1997, Dr. Brasch has worked in the Psychiatric Emergency Service at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario, becoming the Service’s Medical Director in 2000. Dr. Brasch is very interested in medical education and speaks frequently on suicide risk assessment, motivational interviewing, emergency psychiatry and other topics, is on the Board for the Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton and also developed the website The Reasons to Go on Living. www.thereasons.ca
Bill Wilkerson is a former chief and senior business executive, sworn civilian employee of the RCMP and specialist in corporate crisis management and has received several national awards for his work in the mental health field. Bill co-founded the Roundtable of Mental Health and Addictions in 1998 and in 2008 completed a 10 year campaign for mental health in the workplace releasing a final report the end of 2011. In 2008, Bill was sworn-in a civilian member of the RCMP and appointed to help guide a health work strategy for Canada’s national police force working directly with the Commissioner of the RCMP and his senior officers. Bill continues to be a sought out speaker across North America.
Santiago Grande – MSW, RSW, Project Coordinator for The Promise of Partnership program, aligning mental services for government and assisted and privately sponsored refugees
Santiago Grande is an indigenous Salvadorian, and due to the civil war, was displaced to Mexico. He immigrated to Canada in 1988 to join his extended family in Waterloo Region. His path to earning his master of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier included learning English, as well as earning bachelor’s degrees in psychology and social work. Santiago currently works at Mosaic Counselling and Family Services as project coordinator for “The promise of Partnership: Aligning Mental Health Services for Government and Privately assisted Refugees” in the Region of Waterloo. He specializes in counselling survivors of torture and trauma and resettlement issues, works to create processes for linking refugees to other community mental health agencies when needed. He is a member of the “Strengthening Mental Health in Cultural Linguistic Communities” working group. He facilitates training on men’s issues, parenting, diversity and oppression, conflict resolution, as well as counselling male victims of sexual abuse. Previous to becoming a Social Worker, he worked for 10 years in the developmental disabilities field serving young adults and seniors. In his spare time, Santiago has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity on the family selection committee, the Alternatives to Violence Project and serves as a member on the Ontario Association of Social work, Mid-Western Branch, and Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region Boards, practices Tae Kwon Do, and enjoys reading and canoeing. Santiago is the father of two sons, husband, and member of an extended family.
Aliçia is a mental health superhero who is working to reduce the stigma and open up the conversation on mental health since she dealt with suicidal ideation at the age of 13. Her personal journey has taken her from classrooms, improv classes and performing in the circus, to the TEDxWaterloo stage and speaking at conferences all over Ontario. In 2011 she was one of the six Canadians chosen as one of the faces for Mental Health and the Bell Let’s Talk Campaign. Aliçia Raimundo is always looking for new and changing ways to help prevent many of the stresses that can cause mental health issues. You can reach out to her on Twitter @Asraimun or on Facebook, she would love to hear from you!
I lost my 17 year old daughter to suicide in 2005: Jaclyn Amy Brabazon was just a few weeks into Grade 12 when she decided to end her life on a railway line. Currently I am involved in still being there for Jaclyn’s older brother who is doing very well career wise and for my two young children from my second marriage, just five and eight years old. I also step-parent my wife’s two grown daughters. The message to other parents as to how to help teen boys and girls is so important as they can end their lives, and all that the future holds, based on limited life experiences. Teens tend to have a somewhat flawed view of what is truly important and unfortunately may not grasp the concept that good days always follow bad days in our lives.
I am currently employed by the Region of Waterloo as a technologist in the Water Department, working on water efficiency projects. My education includes a Diploma in the Laboratory Sciences, an Economics degree from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University. We currently reside on the west side of Kitchener and are very involved in supporting our young children in many sports and organized activities. When time allows, I volunteer and support the WRSPC in the hope that my time can help reduce the occurrence of suicide, and in particular teen suicide.
John Lougheed – Spiritual Advisor
John is the Director of the Spiritual Care Department at the Grand River Hospital and Regional Cancer Program in Kitchener-Waterloo, where he leads a staff of six, several interns, as well as 35 volunteers who comprise an on-call Team. His work focuses on spiritual assessment, support and referral for patients, families and staff. He also represents the local Hospitals at Interfaith Grand River, an advisory group of 20 local faith leaders.
John is a United Church Minister who trained at the Vancouver School of Theology and the Vancouver General Hospital, and he is a Specialist with the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC), and a Registered Psychotherapist (RP) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) He served as a Congregational Minister in Straffordville, London, Kitchener, and Waterloo before joining the Hospital and Cancer Centre twelve years ago.
June 1995, a group of over 80 concerned community members and agencies held a meeting to focus on suicide prevention and mental health issues. Committees were developed and in 1997 the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council was established.
The Council continues to grow, and is now recognized locally and provincially for suicide prevention activities.
The WRSPC is a non profit, voluntary council comprised of 20 representatives from Waterloo Region. The WRSPC strives to maintain equal representations from professionals/organizations dealing directly with suicidal behavior, associated professionals (faith community, teachers) and the community (family, friends and individuals affected by suicide).
The Council promotes a community wide strategy to reduce the incidence of suicidal behavior through public awareness, education, skill development, and public health advocacy. The Council strives to reduce the impact of suicidal behavior through the improvement of services, collection of local statistical data and through community consultation, co-ordination, and collaboration.
Without the generous, community-minded spirit of our sponsors, partners and friends past and present, the WRSPC would not be where it is today.
Daniel Tudisco Memorial Golf Tournament
May Court Club Kitchener-Waterloo
Schindler Abroyd Communications
Scotiabank – Saginaw Parkway, Cambridge
Erb & Good Family Funeral Home
G Melo Excavating
Mega Health at Work Inc.
Silver Star Society
Preston Chapter IODE
Rotary Club of Cambridge Sunrise
Rotary Club of Kitchener Grand River
Mitchell Snider Golf Tournament
Karim the Dream
Evergreen Digital Marketing Inc.
Numerous personal donations
Addictions and Mental Health Network
Cambridge Memorial Hospital
Canadian Mental Health Association, Grand River Branch
Centre for Addictions & Mental Health
Community Care Access Centre of Waterloo Region
Crime Prevention Council
Grand River Hospital
Hospice Waterloo and Wellington
Mental Health and Wellness Network
Ontario Funeral Service Association
People Needing People, Erb & Good Family funeral Home
Regional Municipality of Waterloo (including Region of Waterloo Public Health)
Rotary Club of Cambridge Sunrise
Self Help Alliance
Spiritual Care Grand River Hospital
St Mary’s General Hospital
Suicide Awareness for Wilmot-Wellesley
Suicide Resource Group of Wellington Dufferin
University of Waterloo
Waterloo District Catholic School Board
Waterloo Fire Rescue
Waterloo Region District School Board
Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health
Waterloo Regional Police
Wilfrid Laurier University
Province Wide, CTV