First Nations Youth Discuss Suicide Prevention

Tuesday, February 03, 2009 at 14:52



A Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations official says First Nations young people are in crisis, and need to know that there is both hope and help for them.


Vice-Chief Glen Pratt says that’s why the FSIN has organized a youth suicide prevention conference, which began today in Saskatoon.


Pratt says the conference will provide a lot of information about suicide prevention, ways to identify if someone is at risk, and how to help someone in trouble.


Pratt says suicide is the second leading cause of death of First Nations youth after car accidents, so he hopes this event will teach young people to believe in themselves and where to go if they need help.


The FSIN says the suicide race among First Nations girls is 30 per cent higher than the rest of the population — while among First Nations boys, it’s 100 per cent higher than the general population.


Workshops at the conference are dealing with topics such as drugs and alcohol awareness, suicide intervention, crisis intervention, suicide prevention and gang awareness.


Tala Tootoosis is facilitating one of the workshops at the conference.


Tootoosis is a recovering crystal meth and cocaine addict.


She says she will encourage youth to find their own identities so they don’t have to escape through addictions — and will encourage them to understand where they fit in life.


Tootoosis says there is so much pressure on young people to be the best at everything — so it’s important for them to see someone like her who has overcome addictions and isn’t perfect, but is doing well in life.