Health Canada is failing to curb the high aboriginal youth suicide rate, according to a survey of suicide prevention workers conducted earlier this year.
The survey by Ekos Research Associates, submitted to Health Canada in March, consisted of telephone interviews between January and March by 34 people working in the field of Aboriginal suicide prevention, including front-line health-care workers, consultants and academics.
Interviewees “generally dismissed the resources because they were thought to be culturally irrelevant, inappropriately worded, and lacking in actionable solutions,” the report read.
“Several interviewees mentioned finding large numbers of materials sitting untouched in piles at post offices and hospitals and, distressingly, many suicide prevention workers said that materials were often discarded before anyone had the chance to look at them.
“Government-created materials and resources did not receive many favourable mentions from interviewees because they are often seen as unnecessary, ineffective, and wasteful of tax dollars,” the report added.
Some workers emphasized getting youth involved in hands-on activities, such as building hockey rinks and holding fashion shows and talent contests.
Survey respondents said they would prefer the government create multimedia kits for front-line workers that would include comic books, DVDs of “success story” testimonials from Aboriginal youth and youth workers, as well as links to suicide prevention websites and toll-free telephone hotlines.
Although people in isolated areas admitted that more material on suicide prevention is needed in their areas.