The Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth has unveiled the organization’s 2017 Annual Report.
Corey O’Soup reviewed the document Tuesday afternoon, addressing the issues facing Saskatchewan children and the solutions and ways to progress forward.
One of those ways outlined in the report includes addressing the issues faced by Indigenous children in schools.
“If you look at our graduation rate, graduation rates for Indigenous kids is 43.2%,” O’Soup said. “For non-Indigenous kids, it’s 85.4%.”
Another prominent issue is mental health supports, or the lack there of satisfactory ones for the province’s youth.
“The wait times for mental health services experienced by children in this province are shameful,” he said. “Two years to see a child psychiatrist is unacceptable. Those are the children that end up in our reports. Those are the children we want to stop from dying moving forward.”
O’Soup said not only is it important to get those supports now, it’s important to get it to the youth who could greatly benefit from immediate mental health supports.
“These children and youth need help, and they need adequate and timely mental health services. Young people in northern, remote and rural communities have even fewer supports than the rest of the province,” he said. “Suicide rates are much higher in these communities and this is a serious problem.”
“As noted in our previous reports on the youth suicide crisis in northern Saskatchewan, young Indigenous boys between the ages of 10 – 19 are six times more likely to die by suicide. Young Indigenous girls, of the same age, 10-19, are 26 times more likely to die by suicide in our province.
O’Soup said one of the ways they’re acting to address this is through a program called Shhhh…..LISTEN! We Have Something To Say.
While the stats are shocking and indicate a great deal of work needs to be done, O’Soup has faith there will always be a way to continue improving the present and future of Saskatchewan’s youth.
“Prevention is within under our mandate and public education is,” he said. “I believe that, yes, it is under neath our mandate to be able to look in those places. It’s all based under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Our Child, and of those rights is the right to education.”