Advisory group on Aboriginal suicide prevention
- Turtle Island Native Network
September 21, 2001
Minister Rock and Chief Matthew Coon Come announce the creation of an
advisory group on suicide prevention
OTTAWA Health Minister Allan Rock and Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
National Chief Matthew Coon Come today announced the creation of an
advisory group on suicide prevention that will make recommendations to
address the issue of youth suicide among the First Nations in Canada.
Earlier this year, Minister Rock and National Chief Coon Come agreed to
convene an advisory group to review previous studies and any
recommendations that have been made on First Nations youth suicide, and
suggest short- and long-term strategies. The advisory group members were
jointly chosen by Health Canada and the AFN.
Both Health Canada and the AFN are strongly behind the work of the advisory
group. All members have extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of
suicide prevention, health promotion and community development with First
"The high rate of suicide among First Nations youth commands urgent
attention, and we need the advice of the advisory group to develop
practical and workable strategies to address this challenge," said Minister
Rock. "We must find ways to give hope to these young people and their
families, so that they can make a full contribution to the development and
growth of their communities."
"The issue of suicide is a daily matter of tragedy in our communities,"
added National Chief Matthew Coon Come. "It is critical that we obtain the
information on this crisis very quickly so that we can then work together
with the government to define solutions and implement them expeditiously.
Nothing short of a rapid response to this crisis will do."
The advisory group will provide concrete, practical and achievable
recommendations to Minister Rock and National Chief Coon Come in the fall
- 30 -
Advisory group on suicide prevention - member profiles
Dr. Peter Hettinga
Dr. Hettinga of Longbow Lake, Ontario is the Acting Manager of Mental
Health Services at the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health
Canada for the Manitoba Region. He served as the Assessment Team Leader for
the Youth Forum on Suicide for the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, and has worked as
a mental health therapist and crisis intervenor in many First Nations
communities. Dr. Hettinga holds a PhD in clinical social work and
educational psychology from the University of Minnesota, and a masters of
social work (MSW), with a clinical specialization, from the University of
Dr. Laurence Kirmayer
Laurence J. Kirmayer is Professor and Director, Division of Social and
Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University and editor in chief of
Transcultural Psychiatry, a quarterly scientific journal. Dr. Kirmayer also
directs the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit at the Department of
Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. His research
includes studies on concepts of mental health and illness in Inuit
communities, and risk and protective factors for suicide among Inuit youth.
Mr. Clark MacFarlane
Mr. MacFarlane of Schumacher, Ontario is sole proprietor of Community
Solutions, a firm that helps organizations throughout northeastern and
northwestern Ontario develop and sustain programs and organizations that
contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities. Before
establishing Community Solutions, Mr. MacFarlane was a Senior Health
Planner with the
Cochrane District Health Council. He was involved in a number of
initiatives in mental health reform, addiction programs, children's mental
health, and long term care. Mr. MacFarlane holds an MA in political studies
from Queen's University, and a masters of social work (MSW) from the
University of Toronto.
Dr. Harriet MacMillan
Dr. MacMillan is Associate Professor in the departments of Psychiatry and
Behavioural Neurosciences and Pediatrics at McMaster University in
Hamilton. She also holds associate memberships in McMaster's departments of
Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Psychology. Since 1993, Dr.
has been Director of the Child Advocacy and Assessment Program for the
child abuse service at the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation. She holds
an MD from Queen's University, and fellowships from the Royal College of
Physicians in pediatrics and psychiatry.
Mr. Bill Mussell
A member of the Skwah Band at Chilliwack Landing, British Columbia, Mr.
Mussell is well-known as a consultant and researcher in health, education
and welfare policy issues concerning indigenous peoples. His background in
social work, counselling and community development has been applied in
community restructuring, team building, child welfare, family development,
leadership development, program evaluations, and curriculum development of
courses in health, education and corrections. Mr. Mussell is President and
Chairman of the Native Mental Health Association of Canada, and Manager and
Educator of the Sal'i'shan Institute Society, a non-profit training
institute dedicated to the design, delivery and evaluation of health,
education and welfare programs tailored to meet the needs of indigenous
Rev. Doreen South (Rodenkirchen)
Rev. South is a holistic consultant who provides services that promote
wellness for individuals, families and businesses for healthier
communities. Through workshops, public speaking and counselling, Rev. South
shares 32 years of training and experience in stress management, coping
with change, building
healthier relationships, self-esteem, and positive imaging. She has served
on District Health Councils; co-ordinating committees to end violence; been
a guest speaker at the Native Social Studies program at Carleton
University; and is currently working with the Akwesasne First Nation
Traditional Medicine Program. She is also a consultant for Health and
Community Social Services and the Elected Council of Chiefs.
Madeline Dion Stout
Ms. Dion Stout is a Cree speaker from the Kehewin First Nation in Alberta.
Until July 2001 she taught in the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton
University where she was also the Director of the Centre for Aboriginal
Education, Research and Culture. Since 1986, Ms. Dion Stout has worked as a
health consultant with the Aboriginal community, and has co-authored
several technical papers on the health development of children, youth and
women. She holds an MA from the Norman Paterson School of International
Affairs, Carleton University, and a Bachelor of Nursing degree from the
University of Lethbridge.
Dr. Cornelia Wieman
Dr. Wieman is Canada's first female Aboriginal psychiatrist. A member of
the Ojibway Nation and originally from the Little Grand Rapids Reserve in
Northern Manitoba. Dr. Wieman is a graduate of McMaster University medical
school, where she also completed specialty training in psychiatry. She is
Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and
Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster, and was recently appointed as the
Faculty of Science's Native Students Health Sciences Coordinator. Her
clinical and academic interests include Aboriginal health and mental health
health care delivery to underserviced areas and populations, and the
residential school survivors syndrome.
For more on Aboriginal Suicide issues see
Turtle Island Native Network
Canada's best online source for Aboriginal news and information. 500,000
hits a month . . . and growing!