Saturday, January 28, 2017
David Braley Health Sciences Centre, McMaster University
100 Main St W
Hamilton, ON L8P 1H6
The theme of the 2017 McMaster Indigenous Health Conference is Indigenous Youth Mental Health. With recent attention being brought to high rates of suicides and suicide attempts amongst youth in Indigenous communities across Canada in 2016, the conference aims to bring to light an underlying reality for Indigenous youth in Canada: the suicide rate among First Nations youth is five to seven times the national average. For Inuit youth, it is 11 times higher. Both statistics are horrifying.
While the causes and risk factors of this disparity seem to be listed as alcohol and substance abuse, sub-standard living conditions, and scarce educational and professional opportunities, more fundamentally, the origins and extent of the problem across Indigenous communities have been attributed to the collective trauma of violent acculturation and colonialism.
Mental health is multi-faceted - it is affected by circumstances unique to patients, which often requires knowledge and understanding of their stories and histories, alongside the roles of various professionals that can be involved in their care. MacIHC is a safe environment in which we can engage with the narratives of Indigenous youth, experiences of health professionals, and look forward to a co-ordinated effort to address this crisis.
Though an effective, scalable approach to this problem remains elusive, MacIHC hopes to evoke generosity, solidarity and equality to give Indigenous youth in Canada what all youth deserve: the chance to live healthy, safe and happy lives.
Tickets are $10