Proposed “National Suicide Action Plan” unveiled in Timmins
Timmins-James Bay NDP MP Charlie Angus has unveiled the details of his proposed “National Suicide Action Plan.”
He announced it in Timmins at the regional emergency summit hosted by Mushkegowuk First Nations.
Angus says it's time that Canada develops its own national action plan on suicide.
"We're one of the few G8 countries that don't have a national suicide strategy. We look at Quebec that established a region-wide suicide prevention program and cut the rates by fifty percent. We can do better. We can start to address this issue." said Angus.
While he says the plan will address measures for all Canadians, Angus says he chose to announce details of it at the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council's emergency summit for a specific reason.
"I deal with families almost every week who contact me on Facebook. We've lost, since Christmas, over, I think, eight young people in the larger region of northern Ontario. These are people who are loved." said Angus.
The MP says the plan will aim to reduce suicide by enacting prevention programs and establishing national training standards. He also says there will be a commitment from the government to the needs of Indigenous communities.
Mushkegowuk Council Deputy Grand Chief Rebecca Friday says while it is important to have government support, Indigenous people need to have a say in how it is delivered within their communities.
"We need to frame that, not them. We need to see what we can do, but all we need to know is are they going to be strong in what they say? I have a question mark on that, but I do, I find it encouraging." said Friday.
Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Johnathon Solomon says First Nation culture needs to be integrated into any mental health program offered in Indigenous communities.
"Because we cannot bring a western philosophy, or whatever, into a First Nation community, there needs to be a way to blend the life of the community into the mental health program, and so I think it's quite imperative that there needs to be communication." said Solomon.
Angus says he'll be meeting with politicians of all parties, community leaders and health professionals, as he wants to put the pressure on, so it can come up for debate in Ottawa before the next federal election.