MKO Calls for Action on Youth Suicide Crisis
Treaty One Territory Winnipeg. MB– Today, the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth, Sherry Gott, issued her Annual Report and Service Plan for 2022-23. In her report, the Manitoba Advocate highlights the current youth suicide crisis in Manitoba.
Last fiscal year, tragically, 37 young people under the age of 21 died by suicide.
As noted by the Manitoba Advocate, 37 is the highest number of deaths by suicide ever reported to the Manitoba Advocate office and represents a 42% increase from the 26 deaths by suicide in 2021–22.
Indigenous children, youth, and young adults, particularly those living in First Nations communities, continue to be overrepresented within these alarming numbers.
Indeed, since The Advocate for Children and Youth Act came into force in 2018, Indigenous children, youth, and young adults have consistently represented the majority of deaths by suicide in Manitoba, at an average of 70%.
In addition to the report, the Manitoba Advocate issued a Statement of Concern on Youth Suicide calling for emergency meetings and urgent action from government agencies, mental health organizations, and educational institutions, in collaboration with community leaders, families, and young people.
As emphasized by the Manitoba Advocate, “it is imperative, now more than ever, that our province establishes a comprehensive youth mental health strategy, encompassing a range of evidence based, culturally sensitive, trauma-informed, and easily accessible mental health and addiction services specifically designed for young people. These essential supports must be available when and where they are needed most.”
“MKO stands by the Manitoba Advocate in her call for immediate action on the part of government to address the youth suicide crisis in Manitoba, which is having a profound impact on First Nations communities”, stressed MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee.
“The Government of Manitoba must engage with First Nations leadership and communities to address the youth suicide crisis in Manitoba. This has been a longstanding issue raised by MKO Chiefs that requires immediate action through a collaborative and First Nations led process”, said Grand Chief Settee.
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Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak