Recently, I wrote about preventing suicide and spoke about the three groups at high risk of suicide in this country. They were LGBTQ+ youth, middle aged men and Indigenous Youth.
I came across a Facebook Page made by some youth from an Indigenous community in British Columbia, called N’we Jinan. I discovered that this particular group of kids have made a bunch of music videos designed to change stereotypes about Indigenous youth. As a mental health worker and counsellor, and former short term resident of a Northern Indigenous community, I was overwhelmed by emotion when watching them. The beauty and strength of these kids overwhelmed me. The video, “Why Us,” in particular hit home.
My initial reactions to what I was seeing pointed out my own deeply entrenched stereotypes that rose up while watching the video.
I expected the kids with the gun to commit an armed robbery or home invasion. I expected the kid walking into the building to pull out a knife.
I expected the images to become darker, not lighter.
These stereotypes are deeply embedded in our society and we have a lot of work to do to heal ourselves. It is this healing that is required to prevent more suicides among Indigenous youth and to make our society a healthier place for all of us.
As a therapist. I understand the value and impact of a listening ear for those who have not been heard. I also know how the act of listening deeply to others can change and heal me. With that. I will stop talking and invite you to listen to, the wisdom of these youth: