Skills for Safer Living

A Suicide-Intervention Support Group

The Skills for Safer Living program is a combination of a twenty week skills based group and a peer support group for individuals with recurring thoughts and behaviours about suicide. The program is a collaborative effort of The Canadian Mental Health Association, Grand River Branch and The Self help Alliance. The group process and content has been derived from innovative work that has developed over the last ten years at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. The Skills for Safer Living programs has recently received ongoing funding from the Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integration Network. This support form our LHIN means that the program will be offered : in Kitchener, in Cambridge and in Guelph.

The Skills for Safer Group itself runs for twenty weeks and it provides group participants the opportunity to develop specific strategies and skills to identify, interrupt and to change their behaviour about suicide. The maximum number of participants in each group is twelve. Group participants must be able to meet the following criteria:

  1. Individuals must have a minimum of one self reported suicide attempt
  2. Individuals must have stable housing
  3. Individuals must be connected to some type of a support in the community (Doctor, Social Worker, Therapist, Case manager, etc.)
  4. Individuals use of substances (street drugs, alcohol) must not impair their ability to participate in the group
  5. Individuals must be able to get to the group and be able to participate for the duration of the group (approximately 5 months)

At the conclusion of the twenty week skills group participants will be invited to attend an ongoing peer support group that provides participants the opportunity to practice and refresh the skills they have learned.

Read Rondi’s Story, a story about Skills for Safer Living.

To learn more about the group or if you are interested in making a referral to the Skills for Safer Living group please contact:

Cambridge Centre for Mental Health at 519-740-7782 ext 0 or

Guelph Centre for Mental Health at 519-836-6220 ext 0.


Drawing from Life – Video

This short documentary follows a group therapy workshop for people  who have attempted suicide more than once. A hybrid of vérité and animation, the film is a  candid portrayal of 12 people who together, for 20 weeks, take on their  fears, their behaviours and their ghosts to move towards life and away from  suicide.  Drawing from Life is a production of the National Film Board  of Canada’s Filmmaker-in-Residence project, produced with the creative  participation of Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, Animation Arts Centre.


Skills for Safer Living

Skills for Safer Living Group Information

Peers for Safer Living Support Groups

See more at:

Reference:  Self Help Alliance,

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