Year: 2020 Source: Social determinants approaches to public health: from concept to practice. (2011). p 25-37. SIEC No: 20200506

This case study describes the journey of indigenous youth in developing, implementing and evaluating a First Nations suicide prevention strategy in Manitoba. The method of analysis was based on the cultural teaching of First Nations people in Manitoba, that is, thoughts conceived within the traditional way of life by the Cree, Dakota, Dene, Ojibway and Oji-Cree peoples. The aim of the youth suicide prevention initiative was to reclaim and restore the identity, culture, language, history, relationships and spirit of self-determination that rightfully belongs to the First Nations of Manitoba. The theoretical and operational framework of the actual youth interventions and implementation were based upon the traditional First Nations values of restoring health as ‘life in balance’ in First Nations youth and communities. Four key periods of intervention, in which the ‘youth-for-youth model’ was pursued and tested included (1) organizing and expanding the youth network, and identifying suicide prevention as a priority, (2) training and adapting an effective intervention model through community development, cultural respect and youth leadership development; (3) building cultural identity and developing the community through youth workshops, and Elder and Youth gatherings; and (4) raising awareness among adult leadership within First Nations, federal and provincial governments as well as the private sector to build youth strengths and obtain resources. The themes that emerged were related to the youth-for-youth leadership model, which provided the strength to overcome barriers and a way to implement the changes the youth identified as needed. The youth worked on many levels simultaneously to achieve the goals, engaging with key stakeholders, leadership and government agencies, and advocating for what the youth wanted. The case study describes the processes involved in empowering youth, managing intersectoral processes and managing policy change. It demonstrates that youth suicide prevention strategies are successful when the youth are the leaders. The report is written from the perspective of the two youth suicide prevention coordinators.