A letter of commitment has been signed between the federal and provincial governments and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations to work on mental health and wellness support services for Indigenous youth.
Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, Mark Miller, says suicide is a tragedy we see far too often, so the three levels of government will work to address the crisis together because it’s essential all jurisdictions work collaboratively. It needs to be culturally appropriate mental wellness support and effective interventions that respect Indigenous perspectives and guidance.
FSIN Health and Development Secretariat, Vice Chief David Pratt, says the agreement is about creating hope for front line workers struggling to find resources to help young people, for the parents wanting opportunities for their children to success and for young people needing culturally appropriate mental health forces. Pratt says suicide is an issue and epidemic that affects First Nations people in a very serious way, and states per capita, Saskatchewan First Nations in particular, have the highest suicide rate in the entire world. The pandemic, he says, has only seemed to magnify that, as well as a number of the addictions issues in the community because of mental health. Pratt, says the agreement is about creating hope for front line workers struggling to find resources to help young people, for the parents wanting opportunities for their children to success and for young people needing culturally appropriate mental health forces.
Saskatchewan Rural and Remote Health Minister Warren Kaeding says suicide is a serious and complex issue that affects us all. Kaeding suggests that the letter of commitment further strengthens the government’s resolve to take steps to reduce suicide rates in Indigenous people, and particularly, youth. He recognized it will take a commitment of governments, communities and agencies working together to reduce the risk factors and prevent suicide. Kaeding says they are committing to knowledge sharing, transparency and accountability, to work together to build upon and improve suicide prevention initiatives in the province. He says the declaration is supporting long term and meaningful collaboration with mental health and wellness.
Through the letter of commitment all three parties are committing to work that will be informed by the FSIN Suicide Prevention Strategy, Saskatchewan’s Pillars for Life Suicide Prevention Plan and the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework grounded in Hope, Belonging, Meaning and Purpose.