Monday, December 21, 2009

Suicides turn focus on stricken north

Ontario will place special focus on the plight of First Nations children's aid societies when the province reviews the laws that govern child welfare, youth justice and adoption practices next year, the Star has learned.

Northern children's aid societies are in the midst of fighting a suicide epidemic while also going broke. In the last year, 13 teens living in the remote communities along the James and Hudson Bay coasts, and, throughout the isolated north have committed suicide – all by hanging. The youngest to die was 14.

Click here to read more>>

Connecting with Canada's Native youth

It's minus 40 degrees, with a frigid wind blowing across a northern reserve.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid is visiting, trying to get a handle on the massive social and economic woes that plague young people in our remote first nations communities.

Despite the bitter cold -- and on the only few square feet of usable ice -- a young kid is practicing shots on goal.

Duguid, who coaches kids' hockey, couldn't resist. He told the chief to stop the car, and he walked over to the boy.

"I just told him, grip his bottom hand a little tighter and take a shot now.

"He did and his shot was much better.

"He looked at me, big smile on his face, said thank you and off we went," Duguid recalls.

Click here to read more>>

Friday, December 18, 2009

High costs swamp children's aid societies in north

Tanya Talaga

MOOSONEE, Ont.–The children's aid society in Moosonee on the shores of James Bay is swamped by a teen suicide epidemic and it's penniless.

Money has always been a problem for children's aid societies serving First Nations communities, which face higher costs in remote areas of northern Ontario.

At Payukotayno, the executive director Ernest Beck issued pink slips to all 120 employees including himself, effective this week, as the agency struggled under a $2.3 million debt load that meant it could no longer afford to meet its payroll.

Click here to read more>>

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nipissing offers new bursaries for aboriginal students

Nipissing University's Office of Aboriginal Initiatives distributed more than $40,000 in new bursaries to 34 students in a special ceremony on December 16.

The Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Bursaries are part of the funding strategy outlined by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for First Nation, Inuit and Metis post-secondary students. The bursary is meant to provide financial assistance and to help increase participation and retention rates in post-secondary education

Click here to read more>>

Inuit Mental Wellness Action Plan A Tool For Arctic Regions

National Inuit Leader Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, called for increased support for culturally relevant mental wellness programs and recognition of communities as the best resources for addressing mental wellness, as part of the launch today of the Alianait Inuit Mental Wellness Action Plan.

“We all have a responsibility for mental wellness. This plan provides solutions that work for Inuit. If we are to build healthy communities, we must work together, building partnerships among families, elders, youth, governments, health organizations and Inuit organizations with the ultimate goal of empowering Inuit to take control of their health and well-being,” said Simon.

Click here to read more>>

National suicide policy pushed

Association prez optimistic


The Toronto Sun

The president of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention is optimistic the federal government will implement a national policy to help reduce the number of fatalities.

The "don't say, don't tell" rule of talking about suicides was tossed out the window Friday as the CASP met with Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq to discuss the feasibility of a national strategy.

Click here to read more>>

Monday, December 14, 2009

2 Children's Aid Societies in N.Ont. get $4.4M lifeline, will stay open for now

December, 11, 2009 - 06:22 pm Maurino, Romina - (THE CANADIAN PRESS) TORONTO -

Two struggling Children's Aid Societies in northern Ontario will be able to keep their doors open for at least a few more months after getting $4.4 million in emergency funding.

The provincial government had been trying to find a way to keep the Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services office open after that office sent layoff notices to its 120 staff and warned it would close down next week unless it received operating funds.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dragging suicide from the shadows

Don't ask, don't tell.

That's how it has always been with suicides.

It stems from discomfort and out the fear that talking about suicide will drive copycats to harm themselves.

But some groups say that keeping quiet and ignoring the despair kills more people than the silence saves.

"There are many people who have thoughts of suicide, but don't act on it because they get the support that they need. And we could be saving a lot more lives if we were all working together and talking publicly about it," Tim Wall of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) recently told the Sun.

Click here to read more>>