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Suicide Prevention Underway In Northern Manitoba

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

New initiatives to enhance suicide prevention activities in the north are now being implemented, Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Ashton announced here today.

“Last fall, we announced a comprehensive strategy to prevent youth suicide, improve access to mental-health care and provide hope and opportunity to young people,” said Irvin-Ross. “Today, we’re getting a number of the strategy’s initiatives underway to reach out to youth across the north.”

The new initiatives include:

· Supporting a $500,000 expansion of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre North (WASAC North) to provide opportunities for Aboriginal children and youth to become more physically active and develop skills and leadership abilities to promote community development. Communities involved this year include Shamattawa, Pauingassi, Camperville, Duck Bay and Pine Creek.

· Providing $40,000 to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Youth Secretariat to extend its traditional youth gathering to six-day event from three days, as well as increasing the number of Aboriginal youth from all over Manitoba attending this year’s event at the Keeseekoowenin Ojibway Nation;

· Providing more than $100,000 in funding to expand Klinic’s successful Teen Talk program to support youth in the north (Teen Talk North).

· Purchasing and distributing 10,000 comic books to help Aboriginal youth learn how to deal with anxiety and anger, encouraging youth to seek help and support when faced with challenges and providing links to provincial resources for youth and their family members.

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“Youth need to know help is available when they need it,” said Ashton. “These resources will help northern communities continue to support their youth to ensure they are well and healthy.”

In December 2008, the province announced it would invest more than $8 million over four years to support a provincial youth suicide-prevention strategy, Reclaiming Hope, with an emphasis on Aboriginal youth.

“Recreation provides hope and opportunity for thousands of Manitoba young people while developing leadership skills,” said Kevin Chief, executive director of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre. “Expanding into the north will help us reach out to even more youth, to show them their dreams of a brighter future are possible.”

The ministers noted the implementation of the suicide prevention strategy builds on other recent investments in mental health including:

· developing a new, community-based program that will provide youth, adults and families with timely access to early intervention and treatment of disordered eating;

· announcing plans to develop a first-of-its-kind mental-health emergency room;

· providing $1.8 million to hire 20 additional mental-health-care and spiritual-care providers to work in regional health authorities across the province;

· investing $2.8 million to create teams of healthy-living professionals to address chronic disease prevention and promote healthy-living services across the province; and

· developing a first-class, multi-agency centre to enhance supports for Manitobans living with addictions and mental-health challenges.