StatsCan says mental health a concern off-reserves too

A new study has more disheartening findings regarding indigenous peoples’ mental health. Just days after leaders in Attawapiskat First Nation in Ontario declared a state of emergency over a rash of suicide attempts, a Statistics Canada report found that mental health is an urban concern as well.

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    In 2012, 60 per cent of First Nations people who live off-reserve reported having excellent or very good mental health. This is 12 per cent lower than the total Canadian population.

    READ MORE: Attawapiskat: 13 kids taken to hospital over fears of ‘suicide pact’

    Aboriginal men were more likely to report excellent or good mental health than woman.

    “We need to engage the regional health authorities in the province to develop standards of practice across Saskatchewan aimed at improving continuative services on- and off-reserve,” Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) vice-chief Bob Merasty said Monday in Saskatoon.

    “We stand with Attawapiskat and all communities that are faced with these serious mental health crises and tragic suicide outbreaks. With Saskatchewan having the third highest high rate of suicide in the country, we need to get working together to prevent the incidences of suicide before we end up in a state of emergency.”

    The study was conducted with people aged 15 and over.

    Ryan Kessler contributed to this story