Indigenous Success Stories

Health (18-24)

National Suicide Prevention Plan

May 2, 2019

Nunatsiaq News – In a move partly influenced by work done by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the governments of Nunavut and Quebec, members of all parties in the House of Commons said yes to the idea of a national suicide prevention action plan. “Our government is working closely with Indigenous leadership to encourage and promote Indigenous-led strategies to address suicide prevention in their own communities,” Dan Vandal, parliamentary secretary to Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan said. Vandal also gave a detailed description of ITK’s National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, listing its six priorities.

But at the same time, Vandal said ITK’s strategy may not be a good fit for other Indigenous peoples. To that end, he said the federal government is working with the Métis Nation to develop “a Métis Nation specific approach” to suicide prevention. And the federal government is also working with First Nations on a First Nations mental wellness continuum framework directed at First Nations communities, Vandal said.

The motion calls for the following:

  • The establishment of national guidelines for best practices in suicide prevention.
  • A national public health monitoring program to identify groups at elevated risk of suicide.
  • Culturally appropriate, community-based suicide prevention programs for Inuit, First Nations and Métis.
  • Creation of programs aimed at filling in gaps in knowledge related to suicide and its prevention.
  • National standards for training people in suicide prevention.
  • Development of tools to promote safe and responsible reporting of suicide by media.

The motion also calls for a comprehensive analysis on how child sexual abuse and other forms of childhood abuse and neglect contribute to suicidal behaviour. And it calls for an analysis of the barriers that Canadians face in gaining access to health, wellness and recovery services, including substance use, addiction and bereavement services.