Supporting Indigenous youth to live with continued resilience, meaning and hope


  • Hanna Sutherland
  • Samantha Sutherland
  • Raeanne Rondeau
  • George Minde
  • Ingrid Nielssen
  • Kristin Flemons Alberta Health Services



Indigenous Life Promotion and strengths-based approaches to mental wellness and suicide prevention are important strategies that promote sovereignty, holistic wellness, and healing at the individual, family, and community levels. As part of the Patient and Community Engagement Research (PaCER) program, our team facilitated three focus groups with Indigenous young people in Alberta to better understand how they wish to be supported to live life with continued resilience, meaning and hope. Our team conducted a thematic analysis on the focus group transcripts and derived five key themes from their contents: 1. Accessible, meaningful, and ongoing supports; 2. Indigenous-centered, culturally meaningful and safe supports; 3. Fostering meaningful connections and relationships; 4. Surviving/ ‘Existing’; and 5. Thriving; living with purpose and meaning beyond surviving. Based on these themes, six recommendations for better supporting the wellbeing of Indigenous youth were developed: 1. Indigenous-centred resources; 2. Accountability; 3. Person-centred support; 4. Enhancing empowerment in children & youth; 5. Holistic health liaison/navigators; 6. Increased funding. Attending to the voices of Indigenous youth in planning and enhancing supports will continue to bolster their inherent resilience and contribute to the process of reconciliation in Alberta and Canada.


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Social Sciences & Humanities