A message from Richard Jock, FNHA Chief Executive Officer; and Dr. Nel Wieman, FNHA Acting Chief Medical Officer.
This message contains sensitive content and could be triggering. For crisis support here in BC, don't hesitate to get in touch with the KUU-US Crisis Line at 1-800-588-8717 / visit our Mental Health and Wellness Support page for additional support services.
World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10), we focus on the importance of reflecting on and empowering our personal mental health and wellness journeys. By doing this, we can ensure we are more resilient to the inevitable challenges life brings.
The FNHA has many tools to support your health and wellness journey. For example, we have self-assessment tools such as the
Wellness Roadmap to reflect on wellness priorities, and the
Daily Wellness Organizer to help plan and keep track of your health and wellness journey. Also see the information and links following this message for more tools, resources, and supports.
Are you or people you know having suicidal thoughts?
Many people have had suicidal thoughts and feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness at times. This is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. If you or a friend or family member are having feelings of sadness, loneliness, or hopelessness, be kind to yourself or them and reach out for help or support your family member of friend in reaching out for help.
It is important to know that these feelings and thoughts are a culmination of many factors, and may include racism, colonization, and inter-generational trauma – all of which are reasons First Nations in BC have higher suicide rates compared with non-First Nations people in the province. It is also important to know that you are sacred, your life is sacred, and that you are part of a community – even if you are currently not well-connected with your family and/or community. Finding and maintaining support networks can improve resiliency, as you will already have a plan in place for when you or someone else may need it. Everyone's support networks will vary, but can include family members, friends, community members, co-workers, health professionals, Elders, traditional teachers, and community organizations like Friendship Centres.
Many of our First Nations teachings encourage connecting with culture and striving to maintain balance in the four domains of our health and wellness: the mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself and tips to support you in balancing these domains and strengthening your health and wellness practices.
What sustains your mental health?
What stimulates your mental health?
How can you nourish spirit?
Have you nourished your body?
Your mind, spirit, emotions, and body are interconnected, and they all need self-care; each is affected by the others' wellness. This may mean that in order to bring optimal balance to all four, you may want to connect with a traditional healer, health care provider, or the
FNHA's Doctor of the Day. There is also our
Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service. Reach out to these supports. They were designed for you and your wellness goals!
Sometimes, reaching out for help can be the hardest thing to do, or may even seem impossible. That's why it's important for all of us to regularly check in and check up on the people we care about. Let's honour this Suicide Prevention Day by committing to reach out and let the people we care about know we are always here to help if they need it.