The Community
 is the Medicine
A Rationale and Model of Community-
 Based Aboriginal Crisis Intervention
    and Suicide R...
Colonization and Suicide
Suicide is... the expression of a kind of collective
anguish–part grief, part anger... the cumula...
Colonization and Trauma
Suicide Is About Stopping the
     Pain and Hopelessness
Suicide is about stopping pain and
hopelessness, it is not about ...
Aboriginal Mental Health
Throughout the history of the First Nations
people, the definition of health evolved around
the w...
Suicide Statistics
             Point to Suicide Resilience




Aboriginal

Non-Native      Children   Youth   Adult   Eld...
Suicide Resilience and
         Traditional Values
In communities where Elders receive:

(1) care for their well being;
(2...
Suicide Resilience and
         Traditional Values
In relation to their families and communities,
resilient individuals fi...
The Two Branches of
 Suicide Resilience
Community Resource Map
Community Response Teams
                 RATIONALE

Front-line staff/natural caregivers often required
to respond to comm...
Community Response Teams
• respond to individuals/families in crisis
     (i.e., struggling with emotional distress)
• res...
Community Response Teams
                  MEMBERSHIP

•   human services workers
•   first responders
•   community leade...
A Community Response Team
         Training Model
     THE COMMUNITY IS THE MEDICINE

• Week 1: Through the Pain:
        ...
The Community is the Medicine
Provides the knowledge, strategies and techniques to:

Understand and Respond to:
• individu...
Community Response Teams
Community Response Teams develop the
community’s:

(1) connection to one another;
(2) empowerment...
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The Community is the Medicine A Rationale and Model of Community-Based Aboriginal Crisis Intervention and Suicide Response Team

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Darien Thira, PhD

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The Community is the Medicine A Rationale and Model of Community-Based Aboriginal Crisis Intervention and Suicide Response Team

  1. 1. The Community is the Medicine A Rationale and Model of Community- Based Aboriginal Crisis Intervention and Suicide Response Team Darien Thira, PhD darien@thira.ca * www.thira.ca
  2. 2. Colonization and Suicide Suicide is... the expression of a kind of collective anguish–part grief, part anger... the cumulative effect of 300 years of colonial history: lands occupied, resources seized, beliefs and cultures ridiculed, children taken away, power concentrated in distant capitals, hopes for honourable co-existence dashed over and over. ... The damage must be acknowledged before it can be healed (RCAP, 1995, p.2).
  3. 3. Colonization and Trauma
  4. 4. Suicide Is About Stopping the Pain and Hopelessness Suicide is about stopping pain and hopelessness, it is not about dying. If you can reduce a person’s pain, you can reduce their suicide risk.
  5. 5. Aboriginal Mental Health Throughout the history of the First Nations people, the definition of health evolved around the whole being of the person–the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of a person being in balance and harmony with each other as well as with the environment and other beings. This has clashed with the Western medical model, which, until very recently has perpetuated the concept of health being the absence of disease (Favel-King, 1993: 125).
  6. 6. Suicide Statistics Point to Suicide Resilience Aboriginal Non-Native Children Youth Adult Elder/Senior
  7. 7. Suicide Resilience and Traditional Values In communities where Elders receive: (1) care for their well being; (2) respect for their wisdom/experience; (3) a meaningful community role; and (4) have the opportunity to serve as cultural and/or spiritual guides; the Elder suicide rate is very low.
  8. 8. Suicide Resilience and Traditional Values In relation to their families and communities, resilient individuals find a positive sense of: (1) connection (cared for by those important to them); (2) empowerment (capable to respond well to life’s demands—respect); (3) identity through a positive social role; and (4) vision (hope for the future and a sense of how they are to live in the world culturally and spiritually).
  9. 9. The Two Branches of Suicide Resilience
  10. 10. Community Resource Map
  11. 11. Community Response Teams RATIONALE Front-line staff/natural caregivers often required to respond to community crises without the: ● the training, skills or confidence, ● resources and collaboration, and ● support necessary to meet their community’s needs and their own.
  12. 12. Community Response Teams • respond to individuals/families in crisis (i.e., struggling with emotional distress) • respond to community-wide critical incidents (e.g., house fire, serious accident, suicide); • lobby for and/or facilitate community initiatives (e.g., a ―girls group‖ or ―healing circle‖); • identify and facilitate educational initiatives (e.g., workshops on grief, trauma, suicide); • support a neighboring CRTeam (if requested); • invite neighboring CRTeam to assist (if required).
  13. 13. Community Response Teams MEMBERSHIP • human services workers • first responders • community leaders • natural caregivers
  14. 14. A Community Response Team Training Model THE COMMUNITY IS THE MEDICINE • Week 1: Through the Pain: Community-Based Suicide Prevention • Week 2: Opening the Circle: Developing and Maintaining a Community Response Team
  15. 15. The Community is the Medicine Provides the knowledge, strategies and techniques to: Understand and Respond to: • individual and community crisis • colonization and trauma: fear, suicide and rage Develop, Mobilize and Maintain: • a community response team • community programs/initiatives • caregiver balance/boundaries and self-care • an integration of traditional values and resilience
  16. 16. Community Response Teams Community Response Teams develop the community’s: (1) connection to one another; (2) empowerment to respond to their own issues; (3) identity as healing itself (i.e., not a victim); and (4) vision as culturally/spiritually engaged. This model is true resilience-based community development.

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