Mental health stigma for Indigenous men, boys continues: Métis Nation-Saskatchewan

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Suicide Prevention MN-S
The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan said more resources are needed to target Indigenous men and boys when it comes to suicide prevention strategies – Jun 11, 2023

The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan said more needs to be done for Indigenous men and boys when it comes to suicide prevention strategies.

Following the Senate report released last week, the MN-S Director of Mental Health and Addictions said the lack of resources on this issue needs to be addressed.

“If you have Indigenous programing, suicide prevention, programing, men are more likely to access that in their communities and with people that (they) are comfortable with,” said Lori Skjeie.

However, in order to achieve that, Skjeie said the stigma is still there when it comes to mental health and Indigenous men and boys.

“Men have that belief or they’ve been told to believe that they have to be strong, they have to be the providers, that they can be seen as weak,” she said. “They can’t cry in public. That still continues.”

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While men have the same access to mental health services, Skjeie argues the current programs act as a one-size-fits-all and believes there should be certain programs tailored to helping men and Indigenous people in suicide prevention.

As an example, Skjeie says Indigenous suicide prevention programs need to be implemented in Indigenous communities, not just in urban centres.

This conversation followed the Senate report released on June 8, 2023, which says Canada can make major strides in addressing suicide prevention if all levels of government develop strategies tailored towards men and Indigenous people, the groups facing the highest suicide rates.

“It is distressing to consider how many lives could have been saved had an evidence-based suicide prevention framework been in place,” stated Sen. Jane Cordy, Deputy chairperson of the committee.

“This report shows the urgency of the situation; the government must keep its promise to strengthen the framework without delay.”

The report found men account for 75 per cent of suicides in Canada, and that the highest rate of suicide is among Inuit in the north.

— with files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: 'Proposed suicide prevention legislation aims to save lives'
Proposed suicide prevention legislation aims to save lives

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