Addressing the Epidemic Crises of Indigenous Suicide in Canada [with PDF, Audio, Video, Resources]

“Dying To Please You” co-authors Roland Chrisjohn and Shaunessy McKay look to capitalism and colonialism as root causes of the Indigenous suicide crisis, while We Matter organization empowers youth and MP Charlie Angus puts forward motion for national plan.

[Article with PDF, audio, video, and resource links]

The 2000-word article is

Article summary:
This article features the perspectives of Roland Chrisjohn and Shaunessy McKay, co-authors of the 2017 book “Dying To Please You: Indigenous Suicide in Canada”, as well as looking at: the work of the We Matter organization; the child welfare situation and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society’s advocacy; and MP Charlie Angus’s private members motion for a National Suicide Prevention Action Plan. The link to free full PDF of ‘Dying To Please You’ is included. The article also mentions Tanya Talaga’s five-city CBC Massey Lectures, based on this topic, that were upcoming at the time of publication.

See below for links to the references in the article and embedded multi-media (audio and video).

This is the first in a series. Feedback/suggestions? Please email greg (@)

Related links and multi-media:
Book – Dying to Please You: Indigenous Suicide in Contemporary Canada
Book webpage from publisher, Theytus Books
Full book as free PDF on (also on

ADDITIONAL (not in article): Presentation by co-authors Roland Chrisjohn and Shaunessy McKay, from 2014. 110min talk (mp3) + 30min Q&A (mp3). Credit: Asaf Rashid, From The Margins podcast

Also ADDITIONAL (not in article): Talk by Roland Chrisjohn, “The Psychiatrization of Indigenous Peoples as a Continuiation of Genocide” from Sept 2018. 60min, the last 3min are specifically re the book.


Statistics sources

Overall: The Human Face of Mental Health and Mental Illness in Canada (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2006), via Suicide Among Aboriginal People in Canada (Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2007)

Inuit: National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy (Inuit Tapirit Kanatami, 2016)

Two-spirit/LGBTQ: Suicide Prevention and Two-Spirited People (National Aboriginal Health Organization, 2012)

vs Murders: Homicide survey, number and percent of homicide victims, by Aboriginal identity (Statistics Canada. Table 35-10-0156-01), via “Expanding the Conversation – Addressing MMIMB: Murdered and Missing Indigenous Men and Boys” (, 2018)


We Matter organization (

Videos: page on website, or “We Matter Campaign” on YouTube

Hope Forum (January 2018) report and Calls To Action.

Toolkit (versions for youth, teachers, and support workers) – with short explanatory video

ADDITIONAL (not in article): Interview (mp3 – 13min) from first day of Hope Forum, with We Matter co-founder Kelvin Redvers (first 2min) and participants Olivia Haines and Natasha Cunningham.
(See Natasha’s and Olivia’s videos. UPDATE: Olivia is now a member of We Matter’s new Hope Council)

Hope Forum , January 22 2018 livestream session (2 hours):

Child Welfare / Foster Care

Federal Government six-point action plan after emergency roundtable, 26 January 2018

Federal Government action letter to service providers after fifth Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling, 01 February 2018

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society’s webpage on Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case

ADDITIONAL (not in article): Alanis Obomsawin’s film about the CHRT case, “We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice” (2hr42min) on YouTube or NFB site. Trailer:


Charlie Angus’ motion for National Suicide Prevention Action Plan, plus INAN committee report

Charlie Angus’ webpage promoting motion M-174 (includes link to full text of motion)

National Suicide Prevention Action Plan, launch video (39min, May 22 2018)
Charlie Angus with: Randall Crowe (mental health worker from the Deer Lake First Nation); Natan Obed (president, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami); Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon (Mushkegowuk Council); Chief Isadore Day (Ontario Regional Chief); Julie Campbell (executive director, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention); Dr. Laurent Marcoux (president, Canadian Medical Association); Mike Villeneuve (CEO, Canadian Nurses Association); and Marilee Nowgesic (executive director, Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association).

INAN (Indigenous & Northern Affairs) parliamentary committee report Breaking Point: The Suicide Crisis in Indigenous Communities, with all of the committee’s study activity on the issue.


Tanya Talaga / 2018 CBC Massey Lectures

Tanya Talaga’s Massey Lectures will examine suicide crisis among Indigenous youth
In five cities the second half of October, book version available in October, broadcast on radio in November.

Immediate Help: Phone lines and other support resources

Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
We Matter’s Get Help resource page
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Helpline: 1-855-242-3310
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention’s Need Help resource page
(USA) The Mighty’s Suicide Prevention Resources page
International Association for Suicide Prevention’s list of crisis centres by continent

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