The Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR) Ontario presents a webinar about Indigenous suicide prevention and complex crisis response. The webinar takes place on Friday, February 25, 2022, from 12 to 1:30pm Central Time.

Dr. Suzanne Stewart will moderate this event.

You can register for this free webinar here.

Principle investigator: Jeffrey Ansloos
Co-investigators: Brenda Restoule, Renee Linklater
Research team: Jordan McVittie, Shanna Peltier, Nicole Santos Dunn, Stephanie Mansour, Anik Obomsawin, & Sara Azarshahi

Suicide risk assessment is a standard of practice for mental health providers in Canada and internationally. Risk assessment is mandated by regulatory bodies to ensure that practitioners are upholding their duty to protect clients who may be at risk of suicide or self-harm.

Currently, suicide risk assessments and interventions take a biomedical approach and do not consider the specific cultural needs of minorities or marginalized communities, and in particular, Indigenous communities.

The overarching lack of culturally relevant risk assessment strategies within a biomedically-dominated and psycho-centric field is troubling. Particularly so in the case of Indigenous peoples in Canada, whereby suicide is a startling public health concern that disproportionately impacts Indigenous peoples. Thus, despite the established importance of providing culturally competent mental health services, there is a paucity of risk assessment practices tailored to Indigenous communities.

This presentation will highlight the findings of a literature review that examined the risk assessment practices at the individual and community level for Indigenous people on Turtle Island and globally.

For instance, in Canada dominant forms of risk assessment for Indigenous communities are those offered by non-Indigenous organizations (e.g., Mental Health First Aid through the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training through Living Works).

The results of this literature review present a clear and urgent need for culturally safe suicide risk assessment practices applicable for Indigenous peoples and adequate training for mental health professionals working within Indigenous communities or with Indigenous clients.