We Matter campaign partners with Facebook to bring hope to Indigenous youth
#StrongerTogether was launched Friday and created from more than 20 interviews
Canada's We Matter campaign, founded by siblings from the Northwest Territories, is partnering with social media behemoth Facebook in the lead-up to World Suicide Prevention Day.
"It's really going to uplift the Indigenous youth voices that are so important to this campaign," said Kelvin Redvers, who co-founded the Indigenous-led multimedia We Matter campaign with his sister Tunchai.
"It means a lot."
The We Matter campaign, which launched in October 2016, gathers and shares positive messages from people across the country to offer support, hope and love for Indigenous youth going through a hard time.
Anyone can upload short inspirational videos as well as art, stories or poetry directly to the We Matter website,
The siblings, originally from Hay River (now in Vancouver, B.C. and Guelph, Ont., respectively), created the campaign after reading about the suicide crisis in Attwapiskat.
Their partnership with Facebook has produced the video #StrongerTogether, which was launched Friday and created from more than 20 interviews.
A public service announcement created with funding support from Health Canada, the video features Indigenous youth speaking openly and honestly about how they found their own strength and how they can help each other.
The goal is to normalize a conversation about suicide among youth whose voices are most needed and most effective in reaching peers who feel isolated by their pain, Redvers said.
"If there's one thing we've learned from our work, it's that youth want to hear from each other, more than anyone else, about this issue," he said.
The video also shows youth how to use Facebook's tools to reach out to and support each other in times of crisis and promotes the importance of using help line services such as the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line, which is available toll-free, 24/7, in English, French and upon request in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.
- 'We Matter' campaign speaks directly to Indigenous youth contemplating suicide
- We Matter: bringing hope to Indigenous youth
"We come at it from a position of strength, uplifting and hope."
Since October, We Matter has gathered 20,000 followers through its social media platforms and reached millions of people through video views. Most of the uploaded messages come from regular people but some have been posted by celebrities, including musicians A Tribe Called Red and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"The last one we did had two million views," Redvers said.
He hopes #StrongerTogether can garner the same attention, if not more.
"We really do believe this video is so unique and so important."
If you are grappling with suicide in the N.W.T., call the confidential NWT Help Line at 1-800-661-0844.
You can also call the First Nations and Inuit Wellness Watch 24/7 at 1-855-242-3310 or Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 to speak to a counsellor.