OTTAWA, June 8, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Youth Council (NYC), AFN Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Regional Chief Morley Googoo, and federal Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr. Jane Philpott, gathered today for a roundtable discussion on Life Promotion in First Nations communities, looking at community and youth-driven strategies to address this urgent situation and identify next steps to support First Nations youth and communities.
"Today, we identified many pressing issues that affect mental wellness and increase risks of suicide among First Nations youth," said NYC Co-Chair Hjalmer Wenstob. "In collaboration with First Nations youth across the country, the National Youth Council will develop Calls to Action on Life Promotion aimed at sparking meaningful action from all governments to move on these issues. The goal is to continue to develop a sense of purpose, hope, meaning and belonging among First Nations youth, all of which build resilience and decrease the risk of suicide."
The AFN NYC, which includes representatives from all regions, shared the experiences of First Nations youth from across Canada and brought forward examples of successful and promising practices on life promotion underway in First Nations communities. A top priority for the NYC is working to ensure there are no further tragedies. Today's roundtable with Minister Philpott is a direct result of the NYC's consistent and targeted advocacy.
"I am grateful for this opportunity to speak directly with First Nations youth, and I want to thank the AFN National Youth Council members for bringing their concerns and ideas to the table. Their willingness to talk about their challenges, and how we can work together to address them, helps me better understand how the Government of Canada can support their well-being. Their support is a critical factor in generating positive, long-term change," says federal Health Minister Jane Philpott.
AFN Regional Chief Morley Googoo, who oversees the Youth portfolio at the AFN, emphasized the important role of youth is this matter: "One of the keys for our First Nations communities going forward is to make sure we empower and strengthen our youth by engaging them in these discussions. They are the leaders on these issues and we want to support them in breaking barriers and changing lives for the better. They are our future and the AFN will work diligently to support them."
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action identify gaps in general health and health care delivery, specifically identifying life promotion, and calls for government support and action. The TRC also calls for recognition and support for Indigenous healing practices. Today's roundtable discussion is an important step toward answering those calls.
The dialogue at this roundtable will contribute to the development of the NYC's Calls to Action on Life Promotion in First Nations communities. These will be shared both at the upcoming AFN Youth Summit and Annual General Assembly (AGA) in July 2016 in Niagara Falls (ON). The NYC Calls to Action will provide the federal government with recommendations from First Nations youth to address this pressing issue.
For more information and to register for the upcoming AFN Youth Summit in Niagara Falls, Ontario on July 10, 2016, please visit: http://health.afn.ca/en/news/general/nationalyouthsummit
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or [email protected]