Posted on: Saturday, June 13th, 2020
National Indigenous Day is coming up and this month we celebrate National Indigenous History Month, so it is important to recognize Indigenous identities and culture. This month, Canada acknowledges the achievements, challenges, cultural practices, and history of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people. Indigenous people have faced and continue to face many challenges, which include systemic discrimination by the police and RCMP, multigenerational trauma and the prevalence of suicide among individuals in Indigenous communities. Statistics show that about 1,180 Indigenous people who live both on reserve and off reserve passed away due to suicide between 2011 and 2016. In addition, suicide occurs about five to six times more often among Indigenous youth in comparison to non-Indigenous youth. These statistics reinforce the need for Indigenous people to receive support and help to enhance their well-being and mental health.
Being culturally aware of Indigenous ways of living, such as their spirituality, can make a major difference in helping prevent suicide. Spirituality is a key component of healing and maintaining physical and mental health for individuals and communities. Encouraging people who are struggling with their mental health to participate in community events and practicing cultural/spiritual activities can help individuals find a sense of identity and community as well as alleviate some of the stresses they are facing.
So, take some time to learn about Indigenous ways of living and cultural practices during this month by doing some research or participating in a local ceremony! Being more aware of the cultures and resources can help find solutions to the suicide crisis among Indigenous people.
If you know someone who is in need of help with their mental health, contact us at 403-619-8558. If you or someone is in immediate need of assistance, contact the Distress Center at 403-266-4357.