(Toronto, ON, September 10, 2020) Today, the Chiefs of Ontario and Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, are marking World Suicide Prevention Day with the theme ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’ by reflecting on the central role that mental health plays in our lives and raising awareness about how to better address the mental health issues through life promotion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today, World Suicide Prevention Day, is a reminder that every loss of life due to suicide is tragic because it is preventable. Due to COVID-19, this year has highlighted the need for urgent action to address the health and mental wellness within First Nation communities in Ontario.

Suicide prevention and life promotion are interconnected. We need to work together to find effective, sustainable and culturally appropriate services and programs that address complex and deep-rooted issues such as healthcare inequities, inadequate delivery methods and other very real challenges being confronted by First Nations families and communities.

Today, I am calling for accessible, timely, and compassionate support that focuses on the unique needs of First Nations families and those bereaved, specifically support that can help to foster resilience and hope in the face of tragic loss, while focusing on life promotion and other vital protective factors, such as opportunities for connectedness with peers, community and nationhood.

To move forward, we must all be at the table and work in a genuine partnership alongside our young leaders, and the federal and provincial ministries, where our families, communities and shared-cultures are a part of the discussion and solution.

Each of us must do our part to check in with one another and raise awareness, not only today, on World Suicide Prevention Day but throughout the year. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the pre-existing disparities such as intergenerational trauma, mental health distress, and limited access to resources – it is important to remember, you are not in this alone, we are all in this together.”

Ninnanskmon!

-30-

The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario

Media Contact:
Genna Benson
Communications Officer
Chiefs of Ontario
Telephone: 416-523-4020
Email: Genna.Benson@coo.org