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FNHC Welcomes New Suicide and Self-Harm Child and Youth Report Recommendations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE First Nations Health Council
November 16, 2012 FNHC2012-BCCY07

Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver) – The First Nations Health Council welcomes the report released yesterday by the BC Representative for Children and Youth, Trauma, Turmoil and Tragedy: Understanding the Needs of Children and Youth at Risk of Suicide and Self-Harm.  The report examines a number of suicide and self-harm cases amongst BC children and youth between 2007 and 2010, and makes a number of important recommendations. In the report, the Representative identifies a number of commonalities in these cases, including the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children and youth, substance misuse by the children and/or their families, the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), mental health issues and access to mental health services.

“Suicide rates amongst our communities continue to be five to six times higher than in the general population,” said Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair of the First Nations Health Council.  “We have a strong mandate from BC First Nations to undertake advocacy and policy efforts to support BC First Nations to address mental health and substance misuse issues – key contributors to these abysmal suicide and self-harm statistics.”

The report specifically calls for the Ministry of Children and Family Development to address the need for trauma-informed services for children in care in its 2012-2013 action planning on strengthening child and youth mental health services.  In the report, the Representative also commits to focus future work on exploring the system of supports and services for children and youth affected by FASD.

“Two sentiments in the Representative’s report resonated with me in particular – first, that every child has a right to succeed and it is our obligation to provide supports to those that require more help than others and, second, that much more must be done to support Aboriginal communities as they work to improve the well-being of their children and youth,” said Grand Chief Kelly.  “We look forward to working with the Representative and with our partner organizations on a collaborative agenda and on a priority basis to support the wellness of our children and youth.”

The full report can be found here:

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Media Contact:
Trevor Kehoe
First Nations Health Authority
[email protected]