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Joint Statement of Support from CNA and CINA for Motion to Create National Suicide Prevention Action Plan

May 22, 2018— Mike Villeneuve, CEO of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), and Marilee A. Nowgesic, executive director of the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association (CINA), issued the following joint statement of support for a motion that calls for the creation of a national suicide prevention action plan.

“CNA urges all MPs to vote in favour of this critical motion that was tabled in the House of Commons by Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins–James Bay. The time is now to take action on mental health, particularly reducing ‘stigma associated with being a consumer of mental health, bereavement and other associated services’— one of the key provisions in the motion,” said Villeneuve.

“CNA recognizes that the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is spearheading efforts to reduce the number of people in Canada who die by suicide and we would expect to see the commission play a key role in implementing the proposed motion. In collaboration with MHCC, CNA has recently co-developed and accredited a suicide prevention learning module for nurses and, in 2006, CNA endorsed the Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Charter. The principles and commitments reflected in this charter remain relevant and will continue to guide CNA’s activity on mental health,” said Villeneuve.

“CINA supports and encourages this motion to design, develop and implement a national suicide prevention action plan. We are confident that this will be a collaborative process that includes adequate funding for all parties to undertake meaningful engagement, to determine roles and responsibilities, and to establish regular meetings to co-develop bilateral process,” said Nowgesic.

“A number of Indigenous communities across Canada — especially those in remote, isolated and rural areas — are facing distressing levels of mental health and suicide crises,” Nowgesic added. “Too often, these communities lack basic and adequate access to vital services, supports, treatment programs and other services readily available to other Canadians. In some cases, the services or programs that exist are not always culturally appropriate and safe — nor are they properly aligned with the needs of the community. Therefore, the creation of a suicide prevention action plan will provide Indigenous (and non-Indigenous) health-care providers with effective, sustainable and culturally appropriate programs and services. These resources will address urgent challenges and establish realistic, community-based solutions.”

“CINA’s relationship with CNA is an exceptional professional partnership, with both organizations working together to address Indigenous nursing for better health outcomes of Indigenous people,” said Nowgesic. “This partnership is committed to advancing reconciliation through collaborative research and identifying cultural competency issues with respect to the delivery of health care. Most importantly, the partnership recognizes Indigenous nurses and respects them for their traditional knowledge and meaningful engagement with clients.”

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The Canadian Nurses Association is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing, representing over 139,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners in Canada. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

The Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association is the longest standing Indigenous health organization in Canada and is governed by a board of directors whose mission is to improve the health of First Nation, Inuit and Métis Peoples by supporting First Nation, Inuit and Métis nurses and by promoting the development and professional practice of Aboriginal health nursing.

For more information, please contact:

David Granovsky
Lead, Government Relations
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 613-697-7497
E-mail: dgranovsky@cna-aiic.ca

Marilee A. Nowgesic
Executive Director
Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association
Tel: 613-724-4677, ext. 103
E-mail: ed@indigenousnurses.ca