The Youth Advocacy and Development Unit (YADU) is led by and comprised of Indigenous youth committed to advancing the well-being of young Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA youth. Launched in March 2018, YADU advocates for and engages with Indigenous youth aged 13-30 to ensure they are equal stakeholders at all levels. The YADU develops projects, policies, program, resources and engagement strategies to assist Indigenous youth, their communities, PTMAs and other stakeholders to build cultural, social, economic and political capacity.
Indigenous youth are one of the fastest growing populations in Canada, with nearly half the population under the age of 24.1 Despite their increased population rates, Indigenous youth continue to face inequitable access to mental health services, employment and educational supports, and culturally appropriate resources. Indigenous youth experience high levels of suicide risk. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada in 2016, suicide and self-inflicted injuries are the leading causes of death for First Nations youth and adults up to 44 years of age.2 The suicide rate for First Nations females is 35 per 100,000 compared to 5 per 100,000 for non-First Nations females.2