The Anglicans in northern Canada—collectively known as “The Council of the North”—launched the Suicide Prevention Program several years ago to respond to this tragedy in our communities. However, in 2012, the Office of the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, Indigenous Ministries, was asked to take over the management of the Suicide Prevention Program.

This program is rooted in the strength of the scriptures and guided by the principle of self-determination. We learn and teach about suicide prevention so we can become informed and be effective partners in developing and implementing community-based suicide prevention strategies. It also focuses on healing for our communities and innovative ways to raise the self-esteem of Indigenous people, especially our young people. Several prevention models have been developed:

  • Indigenous Healthy Pathways (healing from historical trauma)
  • Music for the Spirit (raising self-esteem through music)
  • Indigenous Catechist Training (restoring the faith and formation of Indigenous people)
  • Breaking the Silence, Brightening the Spirit (Talking Circles for survivors of suicide)
  • Diocesan Resource Teams

Ours is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. We help communities discern which prevention programs are best for them. Networks of lay and ordained volunteers are very important to developing and maintaining a strategy for suicide prevention. Our personnel are there to support accessible suicide prevention programs, rooted in Indigenous culture.

We do our work in partnership with tribal councils, governments, health and social service agencies, community groups, and faith groups. In the future, we hope to forge partnerships with urban Indigenous ministries.