Intergenerational trauma,limited access to mental health services: key factors of suicide in Canada's indigenous people
Image of Canada's First Nations. Image credit: Twitter handle
#IntergenerationalTrauma, #Indigenouscommunities, #MaryAnnMihychuk, #JanePhilpott, #FirstNations
Toronto, June 20 (Canadian-Media): After examining the issues surrounding suicides in indigenous people, a Canadian parliamentary committee made 28 recommendations in its report released Monday by the House of Commons standing committee on Indigenous and northern affairs, after collecting research and holding public consultations since May 2016.
The committee held public consultations and heard stories of suicide affecting First Nations and concluded that Canada's Indigenous people needed resources round the clock including community-led culturally appropriate programs and services to prevent suicide and to reverse decades of unjust policies.
As part of its work, the committee heard from 99 witnesses, including over 50 indigenous youth representatives, First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders, academics and health organizations.
Members of Parliament on the committee said the witnesses shared difficult personal stories of suicide.
"We need to send a message to Indigenous Canadians, and especially to young Indigenous people, that their lives have value, that they matter, and to hold on to hope," said Liberal MP MaryAnn Mihychuk, chair of the committee.
"We recognize that they are losing hope because they have difficult lives and are suffering from intergenerational trauma as the result of decades of unjust policies, and that we must act together to restore hope.''
A brief submitted by Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)’s to the committee attributed suicide as a leading cause of death among Indigenous people.
Citing Statistics Canada data, CAMH said that rates of death by suicide among First Nations were double than the national average.
Health Minister Jane Philpott, in her testimony, called the high rates of suicide in Indigenous communities a "public health crisis" that has its roots in "long-standing social inequity ... in colonialism, racism, assimilation, residential schools, intergenerational trauma, poverty and so many other issues."
Jane Philpott. Image credit: Facebook page
Philpott admitted that due to lack of sufficient funds to build new facilities and repair old ones, or to hire and train enough professionals, Indigenous communities had been under-resourced for a long time.
She also added that the $270 million pledged in the 2016 budget to help with health facilities for First Nations was insufficient in terms of the present needs.
The report found that intergenerational trauma as one of the key factors of suicide and limited access to mental health services was another.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)