Native Women’s Association of Canada Renews Call for An Immediate Strengthening of Health Services, Resources for Communities Struck by Suicide Epidemic
(March 11, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is heartbroken over the recent tragedies in the Pimicikamak Cree Nation of Northern Manitoba. We offer our sincere condolences to the community, as well as the families and friends who are grieving the loss of loved ones.
Recent reports of suicide and suicide attempts in Pimicikamak Cree Nation are devastating; however this reality is not an isolated occurrence. According to the First Nations Regional Health Survey 2002/03, 3 in 10 adults (31%) reported having had suicidal thoughts and 1 in 6 (16%) had attempted suicide at some point in their lives. Further, Indigenous women were more likely than men to have attempted suicide (18.5% versus 13.1%).
In 2010, Health Canada reported that the suicide rate among Indigenous youth is estimated to be five to six times higher than that of non-Indigenous youth in Canada. This is a human rights crisis that must be addressed immediately.
NWAC is currently partnered with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in their Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples initiative, which focuses on moving research into culturally-relevant, gender-appropriate, community-based interventions related to mental health and wellness.
“Indigenous communities are facing a suicide epidemic. When a member of our community is lost to suicide, particularly a young person, the entire community experiences the repercussions collectively. More robust services are required immediately in our communities to stop these tragedies from reoccurring – that means acknowledging the structural oppression our communities are subjected to, and putting forward stronger services now. Clearly, this epidemic demands immediate action; our communities cannot afford to wait.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President, Native Women’s Association of Canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-722-3033 ext. 235
+1 613-485-1988 (cell)