Hundreds of First Nations youth are sharing ideas and solutions to combat a suicide crisis facing northern Saskatchewan.
Three survivors spoke during the opening day of the “Ignite the Life” youth suicide prevention rally at the Saskatoon Inn Thursday.
“I had a suicide attempt by cutting – but not on the wrists, it was my neck,” said an emotional Trina Kingfisher.
“I needed a blood transfusion and I had to promise people that I wouldn’t hurt myself ever again.”
According to organizers, suicide is the leading cause of youth injury death, and suicide attempts are a leading cause of youth injury hospitalization in Northern Saskatchewan.
Around 500 students attended the interactive rally, which was free to at-risk youth and focused on compassion, wellness and offering real support.
Personal stories were used to highlight the important message of reaching out to someone during a time of need.
Wynona Cenaiko was 15-years-old when she attempted to take her own life because of childhood poverty, addiction and various methods of abuse.
“You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life,” she said. “I slept behind the old Barry hotel and I would go to school in the morning with a smile on my face – nobody ever knew what was going on.”
Survivor Shane Partridge told the crowd he struggled with alcohol throughout his childhood and attempted suicide more than once.
“I had no one to vent to about my problems,” he said. “Talking to someone about how you’re feeling can really help, so many people care about you and will listen.”
In Canada, suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.
The two-day rally wraps up in Saskatoon Friday.