While the main focus at a recent national conference in Iqaluit was suicide prevention, in many discussions, there was talk on resilience and community support.
That from Dr. Caroline Tait, who co-leads First Peoples, First Person in the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine.
She recently attended the Canadian Association on Suicide Prevention‘s 2016 conference.
Nunavut has seen some of the highest suicide rates among youth in the world, and Tait says Indigenous youth want to have a voice in dealing with depression, in the far north and around the country.
Tait says the challenge is for the rest of the country to sit back and support Indigenous youth take leadership roles, rather than directing youth to what they should be focused on.
Tait says a number of community programs were mentioned during the conference, including one in Iqaluit using photography. She says by using an artistic tool like photography, it is easier for a child to express not just what is positive in their lives, but some of the negative factors that hurt their lives.
She says another suggestion is to provide a place for youth to take part in sports, while another suggested working on linking suicides through the generations to negative events that grandparents faced.
Five girls between 10 to 16 years old committed suicide in northern Saskatchewan.
(With files from CJWW)