APTN National News
More than sixty people gathered for the first national First Nations eHealth conference. The two-day conference is put on by youth information and communication technology committee.
“A lot of the times when a suicide happens or someone’s having suicidal thoughts they have to wait for somebody from outside the community to be there and support them or something… it’s harder for people from northern communities,” said Terrance Thomas, a youth advisor.
The committee is made up of youth from 15 First Nations communities.
Planning for the conference began last March when the northern community of Cross Lake declared a state of emergency after a rash of suicides.
The committee hopes this conference will highlight the different technologies available to treat physical and mental health, including the use of video chat when communicating with doctors.
The audience also included chiefs and medical professionals.
As the conference entered into its second day, one member of the committee wanted attendees to walk away with one message.
“Our goal is to promote life. We don’t want to promote the negative view of suicide. We want to promote the positive view of life. There’s much more to live for. With these youths here we’re achieving that,” said Carson Robinson.