Bigger conversation about Indigenous suicides needs to happen: Recollet
Shkagamik-Kwe director says the living conditions leading to Indigenous suicides needs to be addressed
Data released by Statistics Canada states Indigenous young adults are more likely to have suicidal thoughts compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts.
The Oct. 13 report also says Aboriginal young adults who live off reserve are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts compared to non-Aboriginal people of the same age.
The report comes almost six months after the Liberal government said it was making Indigenous suicide prevention one of its top priorities.
But in order to stem what some are calling an epidemic, Canadians need to learn about the history of Indigenous peoples in the country, including the era of colonization, said Angela Recollet, the executive director of the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre in Sudbury.
"I believe very strongly that mainstream society is now at a turning point where they have education to those true facts in history and that we all have to create a safe place of belonging for our youth," Recollet said.
Suicide is not a topic that's discussed openly in Canada, Recollet said, but it's precisely the dialogue that needs to happen before the situation facing Indigenous people improves.
"We know that suicidal rates in our Indigenous communities are high. But I think the more important conversation to be had is not about the stats, it's about the realities of suicides and the conditions within our communities both on and off reserve."
With files from Martha Dillman. Edited/packaged by Casey Stranges