NAN Seeks Solutions to Youth Suicides

THUNDER BAY –  Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin together with other NAN representation will travel to Moose Factory, Ontario this week to participate in an Emergency Summit on Aboriginal Youth Suicide.

“The harsh reality is that there is a significant number of NAN youth taking their own lives,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin. “It is vital that we, as a society, do everything possible to prevent another suicide and work to protect our youth.”

Statistics show that youth suicide rates within NAN communities have escalated in the last year. Since January 2010, Pikangikum First Nation alone has reported four youth suicides.

During the Emergency two-day Summit, taking place May 11 and 12, 2010, Metatawabin will be part of a panel discussion which will begin to explore some of the causes associated with the high number of aboriginal youth suicides and the impact they have on NAN communities. There will also be discussion on existing suicide prevention and intervention programs available for youth.

“We have to take a multi-faceted approach in how we support the devastating impacts suicide has on our communities,” said Metatawabin. “We work to provide direct intervention, crisis response and prevention initiatives while keeping in mind the specific needs of each of our communities.”