World Suicide Prevention Day was held on September 10. National Chief Phil Fontaine took this opportunity to express the need to expand the National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (NAYSPS).

“The NAYSPS is making a real difference because, for the first time, communities can develop a crisis plan and projects aimed at prevention, which has not been possible in the past,” said Fontaine.

First Nations youth commit suicide at a rate up to six times higher than Canadian youth. First Nations adults commit suicide three times more than the Canadian average. This of course happens less in communities that have high levels of cultural independence, such as land claims and self-government. On the other hand, some of the main causes for suicide are poverty, poor health and low self-esteem.

NAYSPS helps First Nations partner with education, health and justice workers to identify people who are at risk and help them take measures towards leading a happy and healthy life.