St. John’s, NFLD (November 1, 2018) – A new website to support First Nations communities in preventing youth suicide is being launched today at the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) conference in St. John’s Newfoundland. Called Wise Practices for Life Promotion: Indigenous Leadership for Living Life Well, the new on-line resource focuses on preventing youth suicide through culturally-relevant strategies to support resilience and wellbeing. The website contains free and accessible community planning tools, resources, stories, and strategies in both French and English. Intended primarily for community workers who are striving to support wellness for young First Nations people in their communities, it has been developed with ease of use in mind.
Funded by Indigenous Services Canada and developed by an experienced advisory group with support from the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation and the University of Victoria’s School of Child and Youth Care, this is a practical, hopeful online resource honouring the diversity and richness of Indigenous cultures and ways of living to advance the goals of life among First Nations youth in Canada. It brings together inspirational stories and wise practices from First Nations communities as well as findings from recently published research. Depending on the needs of the viewer, there are a range of entry points including: specific stories of wise practices, an action guide for communities, a guide for system-level change (intended for funders and policy-makers), reviews of the literature, and related resources. Videos, images, and audio clips help guide the viewer through the site, ensuring ease of use and clarity.
Rather than centring on individualized and psychological approaches to suicide prevention, Wise Practices“leads with the language of life” says Dr. Jennifer White, of the University of Victoria. In a welcome video on the homepage, Thunderbird Partnership Foundation’s Carol Hopkins informs visitors to the site that “we’ve listened to First Nations youth across the country who said that the conversation on suicide prevention that’s focused on death and dying is not helpful to them. They want to focus on how to live life.” Towards this aim, the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum framework conceptually grounds this work.
This website honours and give credit to what is already happening in communities in all regions of Canada, and draws links and connections among them for mutual benefit. The website will continue to evolve and change in response to new developments and understandings of how to promote life for First Nations youth, and is guided first and foremost by the teachings and practices of diverse First Nations communities throughout Canada.
For more information, visit wisepractices.ca or to schedule an interview, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.