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 Indigenous youth struggling with mental health and trauma need more than Band-Aid solutions from a crisis-driven system. 

Coast Salish Territory- The British Columbia Representative for Children and Youth’s report on non-suicidal self-injury among BC youth revealed significant gaps in the mental health supports available to Indigenous children. The report highlights missed opportunities for prevention and early intervention among youth who engage in self-harm. 

The Directors Forum, which represents Delegated Aboriginal Agencies in British Columbia, welcomes the report and notes that the findings are not surprising. “We are often in a position of having to refer our children, youth and families to systems that are ineffective and culturally unsafe. The services are crisis-driven and offer Band-aid solutions instead of meaningful, long-term supports,” says Jennifer Chuckry, Executive Director of Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services. 

The RCY report calls for comprehensive, community-based services for youth who self-harm and for their families, and emphasizes the value of Indigenous cultural healing practices. The Directors Forum fully supports this approach. “We know that connecting to culture is deeply healing for our young people suffering from intergeneration trauma, but there is an absolute lack of trauma treatment services rooted in Indigenous modalities of healing, and no funding to create those services,” says Chuckry. 

The Directors Forum calls for immediate action to support Indigenous youth struggling with mental health and trauma. “Our youth are resilient. They need meaningful support to find their way back to wellness.” 

Media contact 

Mary Teegee 

Ph: 250-612-8710 

About the Directors Forum

The Directors Forum, a coalition of executives responsible for managing the 24 delegated Aboriginal Agencies in BC, agencies representing 60% of First Nations in the province. As a collective and expert voice on child welfare matters, the Directors Forum bring decades of frontline experience working with Indigenous children and families.