Chief Shawn Atleo of The Assembly of First Nations today commended all federal parliamentarians for coming together to support a national suicide prevention strategy. First Nations communities are particularly hit hard with suicide rates being five to seven times higher than among other Canadians.

This is good as far as it goes, but a suicide prevention program alone will not be effective unless it is an integral part of a larger effort to promote practical education and training programs that are targeted to provide good paying jobs so young aboriginals can see a more positive outlook for their future.

The pivotal role of friends and family in providing a safety net of love and encouragement along the way cannot be underestimated either. If it wasn’t for the unconditional love of Padre Joe Murphy, Blue Saltwater would have jumped off the Lions Gate Bridge and never reached his goal of returning to Haida Gwaii.