In 2009, there were 3,890 people who died by suicide in Canada making it the 9th leading cause of death. This rate represents an age standardized mortality rate (ASMR) of 10.7 per 100,000 or approximately 10 suicides a day. It is the 2nd leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 34, preceded only by accidentsRates of suicide for Aboriginal youth are even higher, and are considered to be among the highest in the world. In fact, it is thought that as many as 25% of the accidental deaths among Aboriginal youth may actually be unreported suicides Statistics Canada has generated updated statistics that provide new rates for First Nations and Inuit youth suicide. Using a geozones method that takes into account postal code and census dissemination areas, mortality rates by cause can be deciphered in areas of Canada where there are a high proportion of First Nations and Inuit residents.
Using the geozones method, Statistics Canada identified that for the 2005-2007 time period 5, the suicide rates for male and female youth 1-19 years old living in areas with a high concentration of First Nations, were:
30.0 per 100,000 for males; and,
25.5 per 100,000 for females.
Using the same geozones methodology, similar rates were calculated for males and females 1-19 years old living in Inuit Nunangat for the 1994-2008 time period
101.6 per 100,000 for males; and,
41.6 per 100,000 for females.
It is important to note that the above rates cannot be compared to the rates historically used by FNIHB due to significant differences in methodology.
New knowledge in First Nations and Inuit youth suicide prevention demonstrates that suicide can be prevented through coordinated initiatives carried out at various social levels. There is solid evidence that suicide rates can be significantly reduced over the long term by using prevention programs. For example, research indicates that the most effective interventions include large-scale (primary) prevention programs as well as targeted treatments (e.g. prescription drug abuse) or secondary prevention programs for young people who have attempted suicide. Nonetheless, it is important to note that rates of suicide vary widely across First Nations and Inuit communities and that every community is different. Policy makers and researchers recognize that First Nations and Inuit communities know what is best for their youth and have identified the importance of community-based approaches to suicide prevention programs and other mental wellness activities.
A First Nations example is the research that Dr. Michael Chandler from the University of British Columbia and Dr. Chris Lalonde from the University of Victoria have conducted. Their work indicates that in British Columbia, more than 90% of youth suicides occur in only 10-15% of the First Nations Bands. While some communities suffer rates as much as 800 times the national average, more than half of the province's 200 First Nations Bands have not experienced a single youth suicide in almost 15 years.
While the cause of suicide is unknown, some common risk factors include:
• major psychiatric illness - in particular, mood disorders (e.g., depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia)
• effects of colonization
• intergenerational effects of Residential Schools
• substance abuse (primarily alcohol abuse)
• family history of suicide
• long term difficulties with relationships with friends and family
• losing hope or the will to live
• significant losses in a person's life, such as the death of a loved one, loss of an important relationship, loss of employment or self-esteem
• unbearable emotional or physical pain
The programs aim to provide a safe place for community members to have a chance to express themselves through the preforming arts.
Youth will have a creative, safe way to express themselves in various forms; and will have a chance to share their creative messages to community members. They will travel with their message to different communities by offering a production, creating the script with a message of understanding how different types of abuse, neglect, drugs and alcohol effect ones state of mind, how easily it can lead to depression and suicide, also to have a place where they can receive confidential, non-judgmental support and understanding.
A program that believes that with the right amount of support, anyone can achieve a happier and healthier life. _ By increasing self-confidence and empowerment. The programs that will help provide them with skills to increase their resilience when they are faced with other challenges that life at times throws our way.
With the loss of community members each year we see a noticeable increase of signs of depression within our community. Grieving circles are being held on a regular basis in order to assist people attending to express their feelings, as we provide them with the support they need. This proposal aims to continue the development of our existing project with the youth, but also to create a stronger link with the seniors/elders of our community. The Youth will improve their communication, expression, imagination, social, conflict resolution, decision making, written and public speaking, as well as technological skills.
The Youth will conduct the play in a collective, collaborative and participatory way. The Facilitator will stimulate the youth to be in charge of their creativity. They will have the opportunity to achieve ownership by creating and shaping a play that will arise from their interactions and work together, while building and improving their playwriting skills, as well as their self-esteem.
The Youth will continue to conduct plays in a collective, collaborative and participatory way. The Facilitator will stimulate the youth to be in charge of their creativity. They will have the opportunity to achieve ownership by creating and shaping a many aspect of their own youth theater that will arise from their interactions and work together, while building and improving their playwriting skills, as well as their self-esteem.
"Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance."
Youth will have a creative, safe way to express themselves in various forms; and will have a chance to share their creative messages to community members. They will travel with their message to different communities by offering a production, creating the script with a message of understanding how different types of abuse, neglect, drugs and alcohol effect ones state of mind, how easily it can lead to depression and suicide.
For further information about the program please drop by the Rec. Centre or contact
Youth Theater Facilitator