ABORIGINAL YOUTH SUICIDE PREVENTION: A POST-COLONIAL COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACH

Darien Thira

Abstract


Aboriginal youth suicide is often understood as a (mental) health crisis, so that prevention efforts are designed to promote the early recognition and intervention that is appropriate for any biological disease. This article redefines Aboriginal youth suicide as a community crisis with a social cause (i.e., the impacts of colonization) and cultural “cure” rooted in the reclaiming of wellness through the contemporary expression of traditional values. Using the “Through the Pain to Wellness: Community-Based Suicide Prevention Program” (which has served Aboriginal communities across Canada for the last 20 years) as an example, an introduction to suicide pre-/inter-/post-vention using a post-colonial community resource model in offered. The program provides a blend of post-colonial consciousness raising (to enhance empowerment), mental health promotion (to enhance awareness), intervention skills training (to enhance capacity), and community development (to enhance wellness) in order to mobilize communities as they develop and implement a strengths-based suicide prevention strategy to promote individual, family, and community resilience in the face of suicide. 

Keywords


Aboriginal, Native, First Nations, Indian, youth, suicide, prevention, intervention, postvention, post-colonial, community development, resilience, mental health promotion, wellness program

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International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies

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© University of Victoria
Victoria, BC Canada

 

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