What should the response be to high aboriginal youth suicide rates?
'To bury a 10-year-old child that died by suicide is something I can't even begin to comprehend'
Neskantaga First Nation Chief Wayne Moonias and other chiefs are calling for an emergency response to suicides similar to the way governments respond to other disasters such as floods or forest fires.
"To bury a 10-year-old child that died by suicide is something I can't even begin to comprehend," said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.
Chiefs say outside resources, such as mental health workers and crisis co-ordinators, are needed, along with the money to pay them.
What can be done in and for a community "in a state of crisis"?
Here are some comments you sent to us in our latest CBC Forum — a live, hosted discussion where readers can talk about stories of national interest.
(Note that usernames are not necessarily the commenters' names. Some comments have been edited for length, to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the username to read the original comment.)
- "When I was a young First Nation child I had a friend come up and say, 'I'm thinking about killing myself.' What was 11-year-old me supposed to say other than, 'Don't do that'? Communities need to be given the tools and supports to learn how to peer mentor one another along with proper counsellors and supports within the community that help with mental health, well-being and general wellness that is lacking in so many First Nation communities today." - Raiin
- "This is a national tragedy that requires a long-term solution. The many challenges depicted in the film Third World Canada inform us that this ongoing crisis will take time to heal. Let's get this job done, Canada. These are our brothers and sisters." - Varaleau
- "I lived in fear my whole life, that my beautiful mother would kill herself (everyday she used to tell us that she had contemplated it). This led to my sister and I being constantly afraid and devalued as children. We as aboriginal people are often one step away from marginalization.This is what we have to fix: give people jobs, value, and security and our children will feel all of those things as well." - Omamiwinini
- "It's the remoteness, boredom, lack of opportunities, and cold weather that's responsible. Anyone from any ethnic/racial group would be affected under such circumstances." - Jack
- "These kids and their families need to feel loved and cared for, they need to know how to reach out and they need to know there will be someone there for them. First Nations people are Canadians, and as such should be getting more support. It must be devastating for them to think that no one is interested in their problems." - Doreen Harrison