As suicides continue to disproportionately affect First Nation and Metis families throughout Saskatchewan, the NDP is urging the Sask. Party to support the strategy put forward by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), and commit the proper funding needed to address this serious issue.
“We know First Nations leaders are experts in the needs of their communities and I would like to thank the FSIN for creating this valuable document,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “Sadly, the Sask. Party government has left the large task of preventing suicides in the hands of the affected communities instead of taking the leadership role and working with them to create a strategy.”
In the document put forward by the FSIN, it shares startling statistics about the suicide crisis facing First Nations. Suicide death rates among First Nations people are 4.3 times higher than non-First Nations people. For First Nations women aged 10 to 19, it is 29.7 times higher. Among First Nations men aged 10 to 19, it is 6.4 times higher.
The suicide prevention strategy highlights how social determinants, such as poverty, poor living conditions and racism impact suicidal behaviour. When looking at the recommendations put forward by the World Health Organization and the United Nations, FSIN agrees that community specific and culturally specific needs must be addressed in suicide prevention strategies. The FSIN also recognizes that there is a need for “better leadership at the provincial level.”
“This government has continued to ignore the high rates of suicide in First Nations communities and underfunded programs that provide mental health supports for First Nations,” said Meili. “The Sask. Party must take the suicide crisis seriously, and commit to implementing a suicide prevention strategy for the entire province.”