Life Promotion

In February 2021, the BC Provincial government awarded VIU grant funds to support existing and new suicide prevention initiatives. The Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement and Student Affairs are co-leading this important project and are keen to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing into this work.

Drawing from the wisdom of Indigenous communities, VIU recognizes that "wellness must be understood from a “whole person” perspective wherein wellness is a balance of one’s spirit, heart/emotions, mind, and physical being" (First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework). A 'Life Promotion' approach to suicide prevention looks at individual and community wellness holistically. A life promotion approach seeks to "centre life-affirming practices, rather than deficit-centred or problem-focused approaches to preventing death" (Wise Practices - Thunderbird Partnership Foundation & First Peoples Wellness Circle). 

VIU hopes to take a Life Promotion approach to our work, seeking to strengthen and support hope, belonging, meaning, and purpose for our community. 

Hope Belonging Meaning and Purpose

Source: Indigenous Wellness Framework. Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. 22361 Austin Line, Bothwell, ON

To guide this Life Promotion work VIU is drawing from several promising practices in the fields of mental health and Indigenous health promotion. 

Indigenous Wellness Framework and First Nations Mental Wellness Framework

"Developed in partnership with First Nations, the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework (the Framework) presents a shared vision for the future of First Nations mental wellness programs and services and practical steps towards achieving that vision."

Access through the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation

Suicide Among Indigenous Peoples and Communities: Presentation to the House of Commons

JED's Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention

"The Jed Foundation (JED) believes in a comprehensive public health approach to promoting mental health and preventing suicide. JED’s programs are grounded in our Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention for Colleges and Universities, developed in collaboration with the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)."

Access through the JED Foundation

National Standard for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students 

"The National Standard of Canada for Mental-Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students — the first of its kind in the world — is a set of flexible, voluntary guidelines to help post-secondary institutions support the mental-health and well-being of their students."

Access through the Mental Health Commission of Canada

To ensure that VIU's Life Promotion work is informed by diverse voices and experiences, a Life Promotion Advisory Group has been formed. This Advisory Group consists of several staff members from across VIU's campuses, and includes several students and VIU's Students' Union. 

The following are some programs, activities, and initiatives which VIU is supporting using the government funds. There is a mix of new initiatives, and existing programs, and we are developing new initiatives all the time. To stay up to date on all the latest activities, follow Thrive. 

New Initiatives:

  • The Wellness Peer Program:
      • Beginning in mid-late September 2021, the Wellness Peer Program is a peer support program. Trained student volunteers will provide supportive listening and resource connection to their fellow students. For more information click here.
  • SafeTalk Training for Community Members:
      • Trained facilitators will offer multiple free SafeTalk sessions for interested staff and students at VIU. SafeTalk is a 3.5hour workshop where participants learn how to prevent suicide by recognizing signs, engaging someone, and connecting them to an intervention resource for further support. To get on a list for the next SafeTalk session, please email
  • Pop-Up Wellness Events:
      • A variety of accessible, free events will be offered throughout the year in a 'pop-style' to promote wellness among students. These events will seek to promote hope, belonging, meaning, and purpose. For more information on these events follow Thrive

Existing Initiatives:

  • Thriving in Action:
      • Thriving in Action (TiA) is an evidence-based program that combines positive psychology and innovative learning strategies to support students in developing the skills and resiliency that they need to thrive. Click here for more details or to register.
  • Talk to Me: 
      • The Talk to Me program is designed to create connections among VIU students, to increase students’ sense of belonging and decrease feelings of loneliness. For more information or to get involved click here.
  • Thrive Events:
      • Thrive events include a variety of activities, programs, and events aimed at increasing mental health literacy, awareness, and reducing stigma. For all the latest info on upcoming Thrive events follow us. 


Part of the Ministry grant funds have been used to train several VIU staff members as trainers in certified suicide prevention and intervention training programs. Having internal staff members trained as trainers will allow VIU to provide this essential training to members of our community for years to come. 

VIU endeavors to train as many community members (students, staff, faculty) as possible in these important trainings to help broaden our community of care. Our team of trained facilitators are available by request to offer a training to specific groups. 

If you are interested in requesting a training for your group, please read the info below and email

*Please note that we will do our best to accommodate all requests, however, the level of demand may limit our capacity. 



LivingWorks safeTALK is a half-day face-to-face workshop featuring powerful presentations, audiovisuals, and skills practice.

At a LivingWorks safeTALK workshop, you'll learn how to prevent suicide by recognizing signs, engaging someone, and connecting them to an intervention resource for further support.

This is an introductory training best suited for anyone looking to be more suicide alert.

For more information check out the Livingworks Webpage.

This workshop is not recommended for people who have had a recent suicide loss.


*COMING SOON* Our facilitators are not yet able to offer this training. Please check back regularly for updated info. 

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two-day interactive workshop in suicide first aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognize when someone may have thoughts of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. Although ASIST is widely used by healthcare providers, participants don’t need any formal training to attend the workshop—anyone 18 or older can learn and use the ASIST model.

This is a suicide 'first-aid' style training that is best suited for anyone who wants to not only be suicide alert, but also be able to support someone in keeping safe from suicide. 

For more information check the Livingworks Webpage.

This workshop is not recommended for people who have had a recent suicide loss.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, please reach out - you are not alone.

Crisis Lines:

VIU Counselling:

Call 250-740-6416

Visit their webpage

24/7 Counselling for Post-Secondary Students: