Brightening the Spirit

Breaking the Silence Suicide Awareness Committee formed in 2014. We are a committee of volunteers both native and non-native.

We are non-denominational. Persons of faith or no faith are welcome to attend meetings held on the first Thursday of each month at 10am at the Dajoh Youth & Elders Building in Ohsweken.

Our efforts are directed towards “reducing the stigma of suicide and helping individuals to explore life promoting strategies: from the pain and grief of suicide.

We offer awareness activities and support through sharing circles and creative pathways to healing.

During the month of May we are hosting a social Friday May 18 at the Veterans Hall in Ohsweken. On Monday, May 21 we are selling raffle tickets for a barbecue, lawn chairs and two deer hides. We are seeking input by way of a small survey in order to determine the need for a suicide prevention strategy.

In 2014 the World Health Organization urged all countries to develop national suicide strategies. Quebec has had one since 1998 but their statistical data does not include aboriginal populations, which opted out of the provincial strategy.

Brightening the Spirit – Breaking the Silence Suicide Awareness Committee is hoping to encourage community agencies and the Six Nations Elected Council to help develop our own suicide prevention strategy. This would require community consultations and money, and perhaps take 2-3 years to complete but the effort would be worth it.

A strategy developed by Six Nations could very well serve as a model for other Aboriginal communities struggling with severe suicide rates.

We are seeking support for continued efforts towards reducing suicide rates and addressing suicidology in the Six Nations territory. Please visit our display at Great & Cheese and remember our Social on Friday.

Dorothy Russell-Patterson

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