Alberta child advocate wants suicide prevention for aboriginal youth

Alberta's child advocate is calling on the province to fund a suicide prevention strategy to tackle what he calls a "terrible trend of aboriginal youth suicide."

EDMONTON — Alberta’s child advocate is calling on the province to fund a suicide prevention strategy to tackle what he calls a “terrible trend of aboriginal youth suicide.”

Del Graff says the plan must be led by communities and recognize aboriginal values and cultural practices.

The ideas are among 12 recommendations listed in a report released by Graff.

It looks at the lives of seven aboriginal teens who were involved with social services and killed themselves between June 2013 and December 2014.

It says the teens all experienced early childhood trauma from exposure to domestic violence, parental addictions or parental mental-health issues.

Graff says it’s time for change and action.

“It cannot be denied that a troubling picture has taken shape when it comes to aboriginal youth,” Graff writes in the report.

“It is my heartfelt hope that this report spurs governments, communities and community leaders to think differently about aboriginal youth suicide and take decisive action to address it.”

Earlier this month, a state of emergency was declared on the remote Attawapiskat reserve in northern Ontario after a spate of suicide attempts.

The Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Manitoba, known as Cross Lake, also declared a state of emergency in March. Its chief has said 100 children are on a suicide watch list on the reserve.

Graff’s report says aboriginal youths are five to six times more likely to be affected by suicide than the general population.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Easter Bunny visiting central Albertans to support food banks

The Easter Bunny has been enlisted to help raise money for local… Continue reading

Alberta plan to use smartphones to enforce quarantines raises privacy questions

Governments must be transparent about who is collecting and processing the data, says one expert

Police patrols increased in Red Deer

Break-in at Red Deer Legion

A cash crunch is coming for the City of Red Deer, says city manager

City council will have to consider loans or borrowing from reserves

Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, fear it’s a mistake

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Message from RE/MAX Commercial: What to do when ‘sorry we’re temporarily closed’ is part of your business as landlord or tenant

Do you have questions about rent reductions or deferral of lease payments? Experts can help

Red Deer author shares tips with students

Academy of Writers by Sigmund Brouwer is now available to students through a new partnership

Landowners and legal experts criticize Alberta’s well cleanup bill

Critics say bill still doesn’t give energy companies a timeline to clean up their mess

Toronto company expands ventilator production tenfold to meet demand

Toronto-based company would produce at most 50 ventilators in a month

Armed Forces reports 20 military suicides last year, largest number since 2014

Increase comes despite the federal government having introduced a suicide-prevention strategy

Suspected thieves caught red-handed by Sylvan Lake RCMP

Incidents happened last Sunday and Monday in the Birchcliff and Lacombe County areas

Most Read