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.
Who We Are
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.
Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council Members
Kim Hewitt – Chair, Canadian Mental Health Association, WWD
Mark Beadle – Vice Chair
Sandra Ayerst – Secretary, Waterloo Catholic District School Board
Bianca Prince – Treasurer, Lutherwood
Sarina Wheeler – 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
Rob Martin- Thresholds Home and Supports
Ryan Schubert – Waterloo Fire Rescue
Susan Markides – Cambridge Memorial Hospital
Panel of Advisors
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.
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.
Tom Connolly – Panel of Advisors
Tom Connolly worked for the Waterloo Region District School Board for 35 years in various roles. During this time Tom was the Coordinator for Trauma and Threat Assessment Teams, where he led the team of psychologists and social workers in response to severe trauma cases including suicide deaths and conducted over two hundred threat assessments. He was the main lead in introducing the Threat Assessment Model to Waterloo Region and today is a National Trainer for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. Tom has lectured for several years at the University of Western Ontario in Human Relations Training and at the University of Toronto for the Satellite Program — Provincial Guidance. Tom is a regular keynote speaker, guest speaker, motivational speaker, and topical speaker on a variety of issues. Target audiences have been conferences, professional development activities, community groups, post-secondary institutions, school boards and more. Previously Tom was on the Board of Directors for the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council, as well as a member of the Board of Directors for the Junior Achievement of Waterloo Region. He has been formally recognized for his contributions by the Waterloo Region Police, Mayor of Waterloo, the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council, and in 1996 was awarded the ‘Educator of the Year award in Waterloo County. Tom was also awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award in the field of Violence Threat Risk Assessment at the 2015 National Conference in Banff. The award was presented for outstanding leadership in the development, implementation, and ongoing support of Community Violence Threat Risk Assessment and Intervention Protocols.
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.
Who Are We
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.
Supporters and Community Partners
Without the generous, community-minded spirit of our sponsors, partners and friends past and present, the WRSPC would not be where it is today.
911 First Responders Baseball Tournament
Ayr Awareness Event
Campbell Fence and Deck
Cambridge Moksha Yoga
Karim the Dream
Peace Love Awareness
Numerous personal donations
Cambridge Memorial Hospital
Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington
Centre for Addictions & Mental Health
Crime Prevention Council
Grand River Hospital
Hospice Waterloo and Wellington
Kitchener Sports Association
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)
Self Help Alliance
Spiritual Care Grand River Hospital
St Mary’s General Hospital
Suicide Awareness for Wilmot-Wellesley
Suicide Awareness Wellinton Dufferin
University of Waterloo
Waterloo District Catholic School Board
Waterloo Fire Rescue
Waterloo Region District School Board
Waterloo Regional Police
Wilfrid Laurier University