Respite House Evaluation Report

Keywords Pilot, Peer Support, De-Escalation, Recovery


The Centre for Suicide Prevention developed and piloted a respite centre in Fort McMurray from March through August 2022. PolicyWise for Children & Families conducted an evaluation of the pilot. Respite House provides a community-based alternative to hospital care for people in suicidal crisis. Through short-term stays in a home-like environment, guests can access 24/7 crisis de-escalation services, respite activities, peer support, and community resources and services.

Readers of this report will learn about the key pilot outcomes of the Respite House model, including:

  • De-escalation of suicidal crises through an intake process focused on trust, safety, and relationship building;
  • Access to individualized, flexible services, including basic needs and income support.
  • Reduced reliance on emergency department or hospital in-patient admission;
  • New forms of collaboration among community agencies, health service providers;
  • Increased access to timely and appropriate care among guests.

Readers of the Report and Executive Summary will also learn key considerations for future scale and spread of the Respite House model.

Practice & Policy Implications

  • The Respite House model can support guests to learn, practice and strengthen positive coping skills by encouraging rest, recreation, de-escalation skill-building, and building connections.
  • Respite House implementation can enhance community awareness and appreciation of peer support models for managing suicidal crisis. 

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